ANCHORAGE, Alaska (FOX 13) - Skygazers from around the country caught a flight from Alaska to Hawaii on Tuesday for prime viewing of a total solar eclipse that unfolded over parts of Indonesia and the Indian and Pacific oceans.
A dozen eclipse enthusiasts were among the 181 passengers on the plane that departed Anchorage for Honolulu. The rare event comes when the moon is close enough to Earth to completely block out the sun.
Joe Rao, an associate astronomer at the American Museum of Natural History's Hayden Planetarium in New York, called Alaska Airlines last fall, explaining that the flight would be in the right place for the eclipse. The route was expected to encounter the darkest shadow of the moon as it passed over Earth.
The problem was, the plane would be passing by nearly a half-hour too soon.
The airline said it rescheduled the flight to depart 25 minutes later, and then, as expected, the plane rendezvoused with the eclipse's sweet spot nearly 700 miles north of Honolulu.
Rao and a dozen other astronomy aficionados, including Mike Kentrianakis of the American Astronomical Society, were on board for the big show.
Kentrianakis has since shared video of the entire eclipse from their 36,000-foot-high vantage point.
"You can see the shadow coming in," his voice can be heard saying at the beginning of the three-and-a-half minute-long video of the spectacle.
Then surely, and gradually, the recording goes on to show the moon as it moves into position, and blocks the sun from the earth.
The eclipse lasted for nearly two minutes, during which the self-proclaimed "eclipse geeks" rejoiced.
"Diamond ring! Look at that....totality!," Kentrianakis excitedly yelled from behind the camera."Look at the streamers...prominances!," he continued, talking about the beams projecting from the sun.
They watched in awe until the moon moved out of the sun's path, and clapping could be heard throughout the plane.
Words don't do it justice. Watch the Kentrianakis' video above to see it for yourself!
--The Associated Press contributed to this report.