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Featured Map for 27 August 2017:
Alaska Airlines 9671 Eclipse Flight

 

The total solar eclipse on 21 August 2017 was a big event for many people, and perhaps a wearisome subject for others. (Personally, the three-hour drive from Wyoming to Denver which took 13 hours was more tiring!) One last eclipse-related map nevertheless seems worthy, this time showing an airline flight: Alaska Airlines flight 9671, a special, nearly five-hour flight from Portland to Portland which was carefully designed to provide its passengers with a unique view of the eclipse. Extensive planning went into getting this flight just right, with help from University of Arizona astronomer Glenn Schneider. The Alaska Airlines blog cited below contains a wealth of details. (For those who are curious about such things, the flight was operated using Boeing 737-990(ER) N495AS.)

This was not the first time that Alaska Airlines had gone out of their way to provide a show for umbraphiles. Last year, regularly scheduled AS 870 from Anchorage to Honolulu was delayed 25 minutes in order to pass through the path of totality of the eclipse on 8 March 2016.

Today's Featured Map shows the path of AS 9671 (in green). The path of totality is black; the blue lines mark the limits of totality. Not obvious from this map is the timing, since the flight would have been useless had it not passed the path of totality at just the right time, which it did flying slightly east of due north in order to maximize the time spent in darkness. (Eclipse path data from Fred Espenak, EclipseWise.com.)

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