Fans to catch flight for prime view of total solar eclipse

March 8, 2016 by Rachel D'oro

Skygazers from around the country are catching a flight from Alaska to Hawaii on Tuesday for prime viewing of a total solar eclipse that will unfold over parts of Indonesia and the Indian and Pacific oceans.

A dozen enthusiasts are among the passengers on the plane set to leave Anchorage for Honolulu. The rare event comes when the moon is close enough to Earth to completely block out the sun.

Joseph Rao, an associate astronomer at the American Museum of Natural History's Hayden Planetarium, called Alaska Airlines last fall, explaining that the would be in the right place for the eclipse, airline representatives say.

The route was expected to encounter the darkest shadow of the moon has it passed over Earth.

Problem was, the plane would be passing by too early.

Alaska Airlines said it rescheduled the flight to depart 25 minutes later, leading Rao and a dozen other astronomy aficionados to book seats for the big show at 36,000 feet.

The eclipse is expected to last just under two minutes. The last was in March 2015, and the one before that was in 2012.

One of those scheduled to take the flight is Dan McGlaun, who plans to bring pairs of special filter classes to distribute to other passengers.

Also aboard will be Craig Small, a semiretired Hayden Planetarium astronomer viewing his 31st .

Explore further: Q&A: Total eclipse of the sun to darken slice of Indonesia

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