Alaska Airlines adjusted Flight #870 from Anchorage to Honolulu on March 8, 2016 just so their passengers could catch the solar eclipse from 35,000 feet. They were “encouraged” to do this by Mike Kentrianakis of the American Astronomical Society who can be heard enthusing in this video.
There’s a great “story behind the story” piece over on Atlas Obscura.
About a year before it was scheduled to occur, Kentrianakis’s friend Joe Rao, himself a meteorologist and umbraphile, figured out that there was an Alaska Airlines flight leaving Anchorage on its way to Honolulu that would come very close to the eclipse’s path of totality over the Pacific. They just had to convince the airline to change the departure time of the flight…which they did.
…The night before the flight, Kentrianakis had dinner with one of the pilots, who he says was just as excited for the experience as he was. Alaska Airlines Flight 870 left Anchorage at 2:15 p.m. on March 9, 2016, just 25 minutes later than it was originally scheduled. It swung out over the Pacific Ocean, and flew right into the shadow of the eclipse, as seen on the video. Kentrianakis can be heard excitedly describing what he was seeing, but even when recounting the experience over a year later, he gets worked up all over again. “I went berserk, because it was just an unbelievable eclipse,” he says. “I’d never seen anything like that. The contrast, the perfection, the symmetry. The clarity of the shadow, the circular form. It really magnified it to see it in a wide-angle view. The shadow was coming straight at us. It was enormous! It looks like doomsday, but yet, there’s no fear.”
Watching the total eclipse next week?
On Monday, August 21, 2017, all of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the sun. Anyone within the path of totality can see one of nature’s most awe inspiring sights – a total solar eclipse. This path, where the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun’s tenuous atmosphere – the corona – can be seen, will stretch from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Observers outside this path will still see a partial solar eclipse where the moon covers part of the sun’s disk. NASA created this website to provide a guide to this amazing event. Here you will find activities, events, broadcasts, and resources from NASA and our partners across the nation. https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov