As an avowed window-seat flyer, this item from Alaska Airlines really grabbed my attention this morning:
When the sun and the moon and the Earth align this week, an Alaska Airlines jet is planning to arrive in the right place at the right time to catch the total solar eclipse.
Tuesday’s rendezvous over the Pacific Ocean is not luck, but a precisely planned equation. The calculations began a year ago. The only variable was the plane.
In window seat 32F, Joe Rao will be one of the dozen astronomers and veteran “eclipse chasers” among the 163 passengers onboard, gazing out oval windows as the moon blocks the sun for nearly two minutes.
He’s an associate astronomer at the American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium(where astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is director). About a year ago, Rao discovered that Alaska Airlines Flight 870 from Anchorage to Honolulu would intersect the “path of totality” – the darkest shadow of the moon as it passes over the Earth.
But the flight’s normally scheduled departure time would be 25 minutes too early, missing the grand spectacle.
Rather than attempt to move the sun or the moon or the Earth, Rao called Alaska Airlines.
Alaska decided to move the plane.
To read the full post about this unusual flight on the Alaska Airlines blog, click here.
What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever seen looking out a plane window? Are you a window or aisle seat flyer? Please leave your comments below.
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