Featured Map for 8 March 2016:
Solar Eclipse and Alaska Airlines 870


Today's total solar eclipse will last over three hours, beginning west of Indonesia and following a track over Sumatra, Borneo (Kalimantan), and Sulawesi before crossing the equator and passing just south of Midway Island before ending northeast of Hawaii.

The latter portion of the eclipse will cross paths with Alaska Airlines flight 870 from Anchorage to Honolulu. Prompted by Joe Rao, an associate astronomer at New York's Hayden Planetarium, Alaska Airlines delayed the scheduled departure time of 2:00 pm by 25 minutes so as not to miss passing through the region of totality. For those aboard the flight, the sun will be hidden behind the moon for 1 minute 53 seconds. They'll also be able to see the moon's shadow on the Pacific Ocean, an oval 68 miles wide by 500 miles long (109 by 805 kilometers). For those who might be curious about such things, the flight will be operated by two-year old Boeing 737-990(ER)(WL) N459AS (SN 36352 / LN 4832).

Today's Featured Map shows the path of the the moon's umbral shadow during the eclipse, with the blue lines marking the northern and southern limits of totality. The location of Greatest Eclipse (GE) is marked, as is the approximate path of Alaska Airlines flight 870. Eclipse predictions are by Fred Espenak of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC).

References and additional information:


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