The Best Places to See the August 21st Solar Eclipse & Tips for Viewing

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As many already know, August 21st, 2017 will be a significant day in the history of astronomy. This is the day that the “Great American Eclipse” will cross the entire United States. A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and sun, and partially or fully blocks the sun.

Considering the last time that a solar eclipse passed through the United States was 1918, many cities across the U.S. are planning to have special events for those who will be eclipse-watching. Although the entire country will be able to witness the “Great American Eclipse” to some extent, the states with the best and most dramatic views will include Idaho, Wyoming, Tennessee, Oregon, and South Carolina.

If you have never viewed a solar eclipse before, you might be tempted to capture it on camera—but not so fast. It’s best to avoid trying to take a million pictures on your smartphone, or you may end up missing the entire eclipse! Also, if you are planning on making this solar eclipse viewing a special one, then plan a visit to one of these places, as suggested by Zeiler and White.  These are the best places to view the 2017 solar eclipse.

Madras, Oregon

This high-desert Oregon town will be throwing a Solarfest Festival, which will include a concert series and many aircraft collections. Visitors can head to the Indian Head Casino, and enjoy drinks, then take a helicopter tour. The tickets to this festival will run anywhere between $10-$60 per person. There will also be plenty of camping, parking and shuttle access. The solar eclipse will begin at around 9:06AM; however, it is reported that there will be a full two minutes of darkness at 10:19AM.

Casper, Wyoming

Casper will be hosting a big solar eclipse party, called “Astrocon 2017.” There will not only be a viewing party on the day of, but also other events such as, the “Pluto Run 10K Race,” which will occur on August 19th. There will be plenty of carnival games, craft shows, access to museums and petting zoos, and more. It is reported that visitors in Casper will be able to see the eclipse for 2 minutes and 26 seconds, starting at 10:22AM, and reaching its entirety at about 11:43AM.

Carbondale, Illinois

Carbondale visitors will be able to see the eclipse for 2 minutes and 38 seconds. The eclipse will be fully exposed at 1:20PM, but will begin at 1:17PM. Carbondale will be throwing a viewing party, “Shadow Fest.” There will be live music, and bands including Green Day, Fleetwood Mac, and U2. Also, Southern Illinois University will be hosting a comics convention, which will include a costume competition, and gaming areas.

Nashville, Tennessee

The Music City is prepared for the solar eclipse. The eclipse will begin at 11:58AM and will reach its totality at 1:27PM. Nashville has a few public viewing sites and events, such as the Mayor’s Viewing Party, the Grand Ole Opry, and the Lane Motor Museum. Also, there are 99 participating hotels, that include vacation packages for those who are participating in watching the solar eclipse. The Nashville Solar Eclipse Gift Bag will come with viewing glasses, a Music City Note picnic blanket, as well as a T-shirt voucher!

Columbia, South Carolina

In the East Coast, Columbia will have the longest viewing of the eclipse. This solar eclipse in Columbia will be visible for an entire 2 minutes and 36 seconds, starting at 2:41PM, on August 21st. Lake Murray will have camping available, where there will be beautiful views of the eclipse over the water. There will be speakers who will discuss the solar eclipse history, as well as walking tours to participate in as well.

Tips for viewing:

If you do attend a viewing party or solar eclipse event, be sure to not stare directly at the sun, unless you have special safety-tested viewing glasses. Without these special lenses, you could end up damaging your vision.

If you haven’t already done so, get started on planning your visit to one of these cities. Don’t miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime solar eclipse!

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