Residents of the Appalachian Mountains will be treated to what will be for many, a once in a lifetime phenomenon in just a handful of months: a front seat view of a total eclipse of the sun.
On Monday, August 21, 2017, America will play host to its first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in nearly a century. From Oregon to South Carolina, the eclipse will trace a 67-mile-wide path of totality across the country and millions of Americans will witness day turn to night for up to almost three minutes.
Total darkness will be visible the longest in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, as skies will go dark at 1:24 p.m. CDT and will remain blackened for 2 minutes and 40 seconds.
Below is a table providing start times and the duration of totality (blackout) in Appalachian states (additional eclipse information can be found at the National Eclipse website:
|City, State||Start of Eclipse (Local Time)||Duration of totality (Min:Sec)|
|Paducah, KY||1:22:17 PM CDT||2:21|
|Hopkinsville, KY||1:24:42 PM CDT||2:40|
|Clarksville, TN||1:25:35 PM CDT||2:18|
|Bowling Green, KY||1:27:21 PM CDT||1:13|
|Nashville, TN||1:27:27 PM CDT||1:55|
|Cullowhee, NC**||2:35:57 PM EDT||1:54|
|Toccoa, GA**||2:36:40 PM EDT||2:00|
|Greenville, SC||2:38:03 PM EDT||2:10|
|Columbia, SC||2:41:51 PM EDT||2:30|
|Charleston, SC||2:46:25 PM EDT||1:33|
The hair-raising event will be both exciting and somewhat frightening, as temperature may drop 10 to 15 degrees, birds will stop singing, and stars will be visible in the daytime sky during total darkness.
Across the region, dozens of communities and organizations will be throwing out the welcome mat for eclipse viewers, turning the celestial phenomenon into a week-long festival that will showcase the music, natural beauty and recreational opportunities available in the Great Smoky Mountains. Eclipse events are being scheduled by the following communities and agencies: Jackson County, North Carolina; Bryson City, North Carolina; and Tennessee State Parks.
The National Park Service is already preparing for the heavenly event, as the entire western half of Great Smoky Mountains National Park will fall under the path of totality for the eclipse, providing opportunities for viewing, weather permitting.
The park is currently planning organized public viewing events at three locations in the park: Clingmans Dome; Cades Cove; and Oconaluftee.
Clingmans Dome: Clingmans Dome Trailhead parking area will be converted to a special ticketed event site for experiencing the eclipse with the assistance of experts, educational exhibits, and story tellers. Tickets will be available for purchase on a first come first serve basis through a reservation service beginning on a date to be announced in February or March. Clingmans Dome Road will be closed on Sunday, August 20th and Monday, August 21st to accommodate the special event.
Fortunately, for individuals who live within the 67-mile-wide path of totality, viewing the day’s sky turn to darkness will be free of charge — they need only to look up.
The August 2017 eclipse will be the first with a path of totality crossing the USA’s Pacific coast and Atlantic coast since 1918. Also, its path of totality makes landfall exclusively within the United States, making it the first such eclipse since the country’s independence in 1776.
An important reminder: protective glasses MUST be worn to view the partial eclipse phases. Only the total eclipse phase may be viewed safely with the naked eye.
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