Over the Pacific Ocean Monday, a group of about 100 people, including some contest winners, eclipse experts and journalists were on a special eclipse-chasing charter flight by Alaska Airlines.
The jet flew about nearly three hours over the ocean to intercept the eclipse, allowing the passengers to watch totality from their seats. Among the passengers was Joe Rao, an instructor and lecturer at Hayden Planetarium who helped Alaska Airlines plan the logistics for the flight. This was his 12th total solar eclipse.
Excitement on the plane built as totality neared, with Joe Rao shouting out: “Four minutes to totality! Two minutes to totality, two minutes!” As he counted down the final seconds, and the moon blacked out the sun, passengers pressed cameras and faces against the plane’s windows.
Totality passed quickly — just one minute and 43 seconds.
“That was magnificent,” Rao said. “It never gets old. It’s going to take another week for the adrenaline to leave my body.”
It was the second total eclipse for Dr. Michael Barratt, a NASA astronaut and medical doctor who was on the flight. He credited his first solar eclipse in eastern Washington state in 1979 with pushing him toward a career in space.
The other passengers were also inspired.
“I want to see it again,” said Jasmine Shepherd, 26, of Charlotte, North Carolina, who won a seat on the flight through a social media contest that Alaska held. Shepherd had brought her 18-year-old brother, Joshua, with her and both were decked out in eclipse-themed T-shirts. “It’s hard for me to process what just happened.”
Total Eclipse of the Heart
Some cruise passengers have watched the solar eclipse as Bonnie Tyler sang her hit, “Total Eclipse of the Heart.”
The Welsh singer was backed on the ballad by Joe Jonas’ band, DNCE, during a Monday afternoon performance in an outdoor theater on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas.
“Total Eclipse Cruise” left from Florida on Sunday, sailing through the Caribbean toward St. Maarten on Monday, when the moon passed in front of the sun. A total eclipse was viewable in a narrow band across the sea.
“Total Eclipse of the Heart” topped the Billboard charts for four weeks in 1983. Spotify says streams of the song have increased by 2,859 percent in the U.S. and 827 percent worldwide during the past two weeks.
This article was written by Rachel La Corte and David Fischer from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].