On July 2, thousands of people stared at the sky to see a total solar eclipse. The next will occur in 26 years. Some countries in South America had the best view, but a group comprised of over 50 specialists and enthusiasts was able to see it up close.
On a special LATAM flight, the “Eclipse Chasers” witnessed the natural phenomenon above the clouds, on a special route that took off from Rapa Nui - LATAM is the only airline authorized to fly over this Pacific Ocean island. And, in addition to the privileged view, the passengers watched the total solar eclipse for almost eight minutes, three times the time of people who watched it from solid ground.
What is a solar eclipse?
On average, every 18 months, the Moon comes between the Sun and the Earth for a few moments, blocking the rays of light that reach our planet. For a few minutes, the day turns into night, in a phenomenon known as solar eclipse.
Who are the Eclipse Chasers?
The group, known as Eclipse chasers, is comprised of scientists and enthusiasts from the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, France, Holland, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Cambodia.
Among the members of the group was Glenn Schneider, who holds a Ph.D. in astronomy and is the creator of the project EXCEDE (EXoplanetary Circumstellar Environments and Disk Explorer) at the University of Arizona, in the United States. The logistics and route for the plane that chased the eclipse were designed by Schneider alongside a LATAM team.
This flight over Rapa Nui also helped him set a new record: Schneider became the person who has seen the most total solar eclipses in the world. Thirty-five in total. An impressive personal record!
John Beattie, one of the world leaders who chase and follow the phenomenon on land, in the ocean, and above the clouds, was also aboard our Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.
Children in La Serena received special glasses from LATAM
Looking directly at the sun can cause permanent damage to your eyesight, including during an eclipse. Proper equipment is necessary. As such, thinking about democratizing the experience, LATAM handed out special glasses to children who participate in the project Abriendo Caminos in La Serena, also in Chile.
Carbon generated by this special flight was offset
As part of our commitment to environmental responsibility, we have offset the carbon footprint generated by our flight over Rapa Nui by investing in the project Madre de Dios, which supports the reforestation of the Peruvian Amazon.
The preservation of this region is important for biodiversity conservation: this forest is the habitat of four flora species and 11 fauna species facing the risk of extinction.