The total solar eclipse that will briefly darken the sky on 21 August 2017 is a truly once-in-a-lifetime event -- it will be the first total eclipse to be visible from a narrow corridor across the entire continental United States in 99 years. A select group of around 50 astronomers and eclipse experts, plus the two lucky winners of an online contest, will be able to view the extraordinary event from above the clouds in the comfort of a charter Alaska Airlines flight. The Boeing 737 will take off from Portland, Oregon, on the morning of 21 August, allowing passengers to view the eclipse at 35,000 feet (10,668 m).
Who turned out the lights?
- A total solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth, blocking the Sun's light and leaving only a shimmering corona. A total eclipse typically lasts about four to five minutes.
- Depending on weather conditions, the total eclipse should be visible from a 70-mile wide (113 km) corridor across 14 states, starting at 10:15 a.m. PDT in Oregon and ending at 2:49 p.m. EDT in South Carolina.
- Details aren’t yet available for the Alaska Airlines promotion. If you are interested in catching a ride on the eclipse flight, be sure to click on one of the airline’s social media channels on 21 July.