On August 21 the U.S. will witness its first total eclipse since 1979. Cue the music from The Twilight Zone. For space geeks, science fiction freaks and just those looking to witness a total lunar blackout, travel will almost certainly be in the plans. While a partial eclipse will be visible across the country, the total eclipse will only occur along a specific “belt” stretching from Oregon at its westernmost point, to South Carolina at its easternmost. We’ve picked a few of the best places for 2017 eclipse watching.
Who wouldn’t want to be among the first to experience the total eclipse. Eclipse watchers in this tiny Central Oregon city will get to see Mt. Jefferson to the west fall into darkness seventeen seconds before the eclipse reaches them. The blackout will reach Madras at 10:19 a.m. PDT and will last for just over two minutes.
The Astronomical League chose Casper as the location for its annual Astrocon Conference, so you know it has to be the real deal. Clear weather and lightly trafficked rural highways, combined with an eclipse duration time of two minutes and 26 seconds make Casper a solid choice. The eclipse will begin at 11:42 MDT.
If eclipse duration is your top priority, then Carbondale is your top choice. With a blackout time of two minutes and 41 seconds, Carbondale is hard to beat. If you’re curious, the longest total blackout location is just southeast of Carbondale at 37º 34’ 4.3” North latitude, 89º 06’ 10.0” West longitude.
Although not along the centerline, Nashville will still see a blackout time of one minute and 57 seconds. It is the largest city scheduled to witness the total eclipse.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina
You can enjoy this national park’s beauty and then catch a full minute and 17 seconds of eclipse blackout. Not a bad combo.
Discover more places to view the Great Eclipse in the U.S.