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Antarctica Scenic Flight lunar eclipse | What it’s really like

Antarctic scenic flights are nothing new – but a ‘combo-deal’ that pairs Antarctic ‘flight-seeing’ with a total solar eclipse is an Australian first.

The opportunity to see 2021’s only Total Solar Eclipse over the Antarctic will be a once-in-a-lifetime flight. It’s a rare phenomenon that occurs over the southern continent only once every couple of decades.

Polar travel specialist, Chimu Adventures, has chartered a Qantas 787 Dreamliner for the event – a 16-hour return flight from Melbourne on December 4. It will be one of only two flights in the world to fly into the eclipse’s ‘path of totality’ when day will turn to night – the sun briefly swallowed by our moon.

See also: 20 exhilarating things to do in Antarctica

See also: Why this remote wilderness should be your next trip

“It has taken months to plan the route,“ says Chimu’s co-founder Chad Carey.

“We have worked with solar eclipse expert, Xavier Jubier, who has planned and led many flights to solar eclipses around the world. We’ve also worked with NASA, CASA the RAAF and the Australian Antarctic Division”, he said.

The first part of the ‘combo deal’ will be a low-level sightseeing flight along the Antarctic coast with close-up views of ice floes and icebergs, glaciers and the distant Trans-Antarctic mountains before the aircraft jets to 40,000 feet for an unobscured view of the total solar eclipse.

Antarctic sightseers will then swap their window seats with the Eclipse travellers – or you can ‘upsize’ and purchase an entire row to have the ‘full combo’ experience. The eclipse is guaranteed to be a unique light show – played across the sky and shadowed across the pristine white ice of the Antarctic continent.

Passengers facing the sun will be given special ‘eclipse shades’ for the partial phase of the eclipse, but once the sun is completely blocked by the moon will be able to watch safely with the naked eye. 

Everyone on board will experience the eerie darkness that envelops the aircraft and those on the ‘dark side’ will see the bizarre colour changes in the sky and the moon’s shadow race across the ice below.

Breathtaking view from an helicopter over the Faroe Islands this morning as the corona from the Total Solar Eclipse appeared.

Breathtaking view over the Faroe Islands as the corona from the Total Solar Eclipse appeared.

Totality will last for one minute and 54 seconds. So, yes, you’ll have to be quick to get photos! On board, astro photographer David Finlay will help passengers prepare to capture photos of the phenomenon.

“I saw the last solar eclipse over Antarctica in 2003. It was the biggest thrill of my life”, he said.

“I still get goosies thinking what an incredibly powerful experience it was, just knowing where we were and the extraordinary event I was witnessing”.

Other special guests on the flight include charismatic broadcaster, mathematician, comedian and self-confessed geek, Adam Spencer who will MC the flight and astronomer Geoff Sims who will explain to passengers the science of the phenomenon.

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