WNPR

Soaring In The Sky, To Watch The Sun Get Snuffed Out

Aug 18, 2017

A Connecticut man is traveling across the country to take in Monday’s solar eclipse from a coveted viewing spot -- above the clouds.

Last year, Alaska Airlines adjusted one of its flights from Anchorage to Honolulu so passengers could take in a total solar eclipse from 35,000 feet in the air.

A video posted online shows the shadow of the Moon swooping across cloud tops toward the plane. The sun crackles, giving way to a diamond-ring shaped bead of light, which fades into totality as the outer part of the sun’s atmosphere flares into view.

“It’s as much of an emotional experience as it is a visual experience,” said Dennis Cassia, a retired firefighter and amateur astronomer from Monroe, Connecticut. “Some people have said a religious experience. Some people, I’ve seen, cry.”

Cassia has seen several total eclipses, traveling as far as the Sahara Desert. For this one, the Monroe resident said he got lucky: snagging one of about 70 coveted spots on a special Alaska Airlines’s eclipse flight that’s leaving Monday out of Portland, Oregon.

It will go over the Pacific Ocean to watch the eclipse. Cassia said everyone gets a window seat.

“All the times I’ve seen eclipses I’ve spent so much time photographing them, this time I’m going to take two or three shots -- and I’m going to look out the window, and I’m just going to enjoy the sight,” he said.

Connecticut isn’t getting a total eclipse, but weather permitting, the state’s partial eclipse should peak around 2:45 pm on Monday afternoon, blocking nearly 70 percent of the sun.