Hundreds of amateur astronomers have been getting an extra-special glimpse of what's been called "the comet of the century".
They've been on special 'comet flights' run by a British travel agency to get a better view of the Hale-Bopp comet.
The flights take them seven miles (11 kilometres) above ground, clear of the distorting effect of the earth's atmosphere.
Right from the moment they picked up their boarding passes, it was clear this wouldn't be a normal flight.
The check-in girl sported a futuristic space suit, while the passengers carried nothing more than binoculars.
They paid 89-pounds (140 U-S dollars) for a unique opportunity to view the comet from seven miles (11 kilometres) up, far above the clouds, haze and light pollution that plague comet-gazers on the ground.
And as the passengers unpacked their binoculars at the start of the 90-minute flight, the lights were dimmed, as the celestial show of the century was unveiled:
UPSOUND (cabin attendant):
"Ladies and gentlemen. We are now at 35,000 feet. We will shortly be dimming the cabin lights so you can have a better view of the comet on your left hand side, and of Mars on the right hand side of the cabin."
And this was the sight they'd paid to see - a clear shot of the comet with the naked eye - and an astonishing clear view with binoculars on zoom.
One amateur astronomer flew all the way from Switzerland for the flight.
He took his wife along as well, celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary.
"In order to celebrate this, we came all the way from Switzerland, to celebrate it up in the sky.
Q: And what did you make of it?
A: It's fantastic. It's great."
SUPERCAPTION: Rolf Durrer, Swiss amateur astronomer
"It's obviously a marvellous chance, because we can get above all the clouds and the pollution and the light of the cities, and see the skies as they would have been seen hundreds of years ago, before we started messing up the skies with our light."
SUPERCAPTION: Rodney Hine, amateur astronomer
"I have a restaurant at home, and I'm going to tell all my friends what a fantastic flight this was, and what a brilliant and clear view we had of the comet. It was just fantastic."
SUPER CAPTION: Rolf Durrer, Swiss amateur astronomer
And then it was over.
The captain, who constantly banked the aircraft upwards during the flight to provide passengers with the best possible view, brought the plane back to earth.
The travel agent who came up with the idea - Peter Truman of Saltaire Travel - wasn't sure originally whether there'd be any demand.
Now he's had to lay on extra flights:
"Well, it started as an experiment really. We thought we'd have a bash at putting one flight on from Leeds-Bradford (airport) to see the spectacular comet of the century, the Hale-Bopp. And that really took off, and we've ended up putting a couple of flights on from Leeds, flights from Glasgow, Birmingham and (London) Heathrow as well. So it's been tremendously successful."
SUPERCAPTION: Peter Truman, Saltaire Travel
The company has arranged six more flights from British airports between now and the middle of the month, by which time the best of Hale-Bopp will be behind us.
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