With just over two weeks to go until the total solar eclipse, an event that is set to be visible across the USA, a new competition has been launched to offer sky-watchers the chance to experience the rare event from a suitably unforgettable setting.
Run by AirBnB and National Geographic, the experience will allow two guests to be among the first to witness the solar eclipse before it crosses the United States for the first time in 99 years. Beginning on 20 August on the eve of the eclipse, guests will travel to the outskirts of Bend in Oregon to stay in a geodesic dome complete with an observation deck and a variety of telescopes before taking a private jet ride the following day.
The accommodation experience will be hosted by Dr Jedidah Isler, a National Geographic Explorer and scholar who was the first African-American woman to receive a PhD in Astrophysics from Yale University, and Babak Tafeshi, a photographer and science journalist. Dr Isler will share insights and knowledge about outer space, while Babak will lead guests through a workshop on how to capture high-quality photographs of the event.
On eclipse day, visitors will rise before dawn to prepare for a ride on-board a private jet that will fly them past the coastline and over the Pacific Ocean, moving directly into the shadow of the sun. On the way back, the guests will be among the select few people to witness the eclipse as it crosses onto land for the first time. Following that, the plane will attempt to fly over Lincoln City to witness the possibility of the city’s street lights turning on.
While the competition will only choose two winners, eclipse chasers interested in making the most of the event may want to visit Hopkinsville, a small town in Kentucky that will be the “point of greatest eclipse,”, meaning it’s the location where the axis of the moon’s shadow will pass closest to the earth. Enthusiasts can also win the chance to view the event on-board a special flight operated by Alaska Airlines.
The competition is open now, running until 10 August. To enter, prospective visitors will need to answer a question on this page using their Airbnb account.
Entries will be judged based on how well the response answers the question, both in terms of creativity and originality. The contest is open to residents of the US, as well as Canada, excluding Quebec.