On July 11th of this year, the moon will pass between the Earth and the Sun, creating a total solar eclipse that will cast portions of the planet in complete darkness for up to 4 minutes. The best place to view this astronomical phenomenon will be in the South Pacific, with prime viewing locations along a few atolls in French Polynesia and on remote Easter Island. Actually, those places will be the second best place to see it, as a once in a lifetime travel opportunity will give 41 lucky travelers a unique and very personal view of the eclipse – from the air.
The EFlight 2010 will set out from Tahiti and fly directly into the moon’s umbral shadow, while climbing above any cloud cover for a complete, unobstructed view of the eclipse. The flight will take place aboard a specially designed and equipped Airbus A319, which will allow its passengers to intercept the lunar shadow approximately 2500km to the east of their starting location. While traveling through that shadow, the travelers will have the opportunity to witness the totality of the eclipse for an unprecedented 9.5 minutes, more than double its length on the Earth’s surface.
The Airbus that has been specifically chartered for this flight has had all of the seats removed along the left side of the plane, the same side that will face the eclipse itself. This will allow the passengers to have the best view possible out of those windows, where they’ll not only be immersed in the darkness of the Moon’s shadow, but will also get a chance to glimpse the Sun’s bright white corona in all of its glory.
Make no mistake, a unique trip such as this one doesn’t come cheap, but with the limited number of seats available, you also know that it is a travel experience that few will have a chance to enjoy. The EFlight alone will set you back $9000 which ensures that you have your own window for the eclipse. If you don’t mind sharing that window however, the costs drop to $6500 per seat. That price is for the EFlight alone and doesn’t include the international flight to Tahiti or accommodations while on the island.