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Alaska Airlines will chase total solar eclipse

Total solar eclipse
The black disk of a total solar eclipse hangs over the clouds during an Alaska Airlines flight in 2016. Passengers on an August flight should see a similar sight. (Robert Stephens via YouTube)

Alaska Airlines has scheduled a flight from Portland to chase views of the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse over the clouds, but you can’t book a seat online.

The charter flight, due for a 7:30 a.m. PT takeoff on eclipse day, will be open by invitation only to astronomy enthusiasts and other VIPs. Except for two seats. Those seats will be given away in a social-media contest scheduled to begin on July 21, one month before the eclipse.

The Aug. 21 adventure follows up on a more impromptu eclipse-chasing trip on March 8, 2016, when Alaska changed the takeoff time for a previously scheduled Anchorage-to-Honolulu flight to let passengers see a total solar eclipse over the Pacific.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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