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Former NASA astronaut Terry Virts shared his experience of witnessing a solar eclipse while in space, ahead of the rare atmospheric occurrence happening on Monday, April 8. Virts, who has traveled to space multiple times, described his spaceflights as amazing and fulfilling his childhood dream of becoming an astronaut. During his two spaceflights, he spent over 200 days in space, piloting the Space Shuttle Endeavor and commanding the International Space Station. Virts was known for taking a large number of pictures while in space and shared that capturing the beauty of Earth and the galaxy was a highlight of his experience.

While in space, Virts had the opportunity to witness a solar eclipse in 2015, which he described as a unique and unexpected experience. Seeing the circular black shadow move across Earth from the vantage point of space was a moment that he never thought he would be able to witness. Virts emphasized the importance of being prepared with the right tools to view a solar eclipse safely, such as eclipse glasses that provide protection for the eyes. He recommended viewers to avoid staring at the sun directly, even with eclipse glasses, and advised getting as close to the middle of the totality path for the best viewing experience.

Virts is partnering with SONIC ahead of the April 8 solar eclipse, recommending viewers to visit one of the 400 SONIC locations in the path of totality for a limited-edition blackout slush float and viewing glasses. He emphasized the importance of taking in the surroundings during the eclipse, such as observing wildlife reactions to the phenomenon. Virts also encouraged viewers to take a moment to look down at the horizon while witnessing the eclipse, as it can offer a unique perspective of the event. Additionally, he recommended viewers to head to the Dallas-Fort Worth area in Texas for the best eclipse viewing experience.

Guests who purchase a blackout slush float at SONIC will receive a free pair of eclipse viewing glasses while supplies last. The limited-edition dragon fruit-flavored slush is designed to celebrate the occasion with “eclipse-like darkness.” The next solar eclipse viewing opportunity in the U.S. will occur on August 23, 2044, according to NASA. Virts’ experience in space and his insights on preparing for and observing a solar eclipse provide a unique perspective on the upcoming event on April 8, encouraging viewers to take the necessary precautions and make the most of this rare atmospheric phenomenon.

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