People have been talking about the Great American Eclipse scheduled to occur on the 21st of August, 2017 for years now. It will be the first total eclipse in almost 40 years and is a spectacular affair. If you are in the US, there is a very good chance that you’ll be able to see it live, and even if you are not, there will be tons of high-quality streams available online. However, this momentous, incredible sight must be experienced with your very own eyes to appreciate its real glory. Here are some of the best spots to see it in its full magnificence.
The most important criterion to keep in mind when you are selecting a viewing site is the weather, since clouds will obstruct your vision, and rain will quite literally rain on your parade. All places on the path of the locality from South Carolina to Oregon are likely to have good weather on eclipse day, but anywhere in the Western half from Oregon’s Willamette Valley to the Sandhills of Nebraska would be your best bet.
The Oregon coast runs a risk of marine clouds, but the interior happens to enjoy the best weather prospects in the country. Madras is very accessible, sitting at the junction of four major highways and is a two-hour drive from Portland. The 2 minutes and 4 seconds totality will begin at 10:19 am PDT, and you will be able to behold the glorious Mt. Jefferson darken and then be completely enveloped by totality around 17 seconds before it happens in Madras.
Snake River Valley, Idaho
This valley in East Idaho is composed of mostly lava fields and farmland. It is likely to enjoy fantastic weather prospects and is very well-connected in case you need to bail on seeing local clouds. The totality here begins at 11:33 am MDT and endures for 2 minutes and 18 seconds.
Casper Wyoming will host the Astronomical League’s annual Astrocon Conference just before the big eclipse day, and that should speak volumes about how favorable it is as a location. Uncrowded highways leading in all directions emerge from Casper, which, coupled with the prospects of good weather makes it extremely attractive. The totality here will start at 11:42 am MDT and go on for 2 minutes, 56 seconds.
Sandhills, Western Nebraska
Yet another prime eclipse-viewing location, it has a ton of accommodations available, a substantial totality period, several empty farm roads and access to three big highways too. The open countryside also allows you a gorgeous view of summer night skies and the Milky Way. Totality commences at 11:49 am MDT for two and a half minutes.
St. Joseph, Missouri
This will be seeing a long 2 minute 39-second totality from 1:06 pm CDT and lies right in the middle of the eclipse path. You could also participate in the big viewing party organized by the Rosecrans Memorial Airport and catch top-notch solar telescopes, expert speakers, and so much more.
Carbondale is an incredible location because it is very close to the crossing centerlines of the total eclipses on both August 21, 2017 and April 8, 2024! The longest eclipse duration point at 37º 34’ 4.3” N, 89º 06’ 10.0” W is also just southeast of Carbondale. It will see 2 minutes, 41 seconds totality from 1:20 pm CDT.
The duration here is exactly the same as Carbondale, and it begins at 1:24pm CDT. You could follow the solar eclipse for hundreds of miles east or west along the centerline from here too.
Nashville will see a totality of 117 seconds, just shy of 2 minutes at 1:27pm CDT but is definitely worth a mention because it is the largest city which falls right in the path of the eclipse. It is off the center by around 20 miles but is still very close.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
This place offers the most breathtaking vistas for viewing, with Clingman’s Dome and so many other great places. You could see the shadow of the Moon race across the entire landscape and witness the full eclipse from 2:35 pm EDT for a minute and 17 seconds.
Columbia, South Carolina
This is the most accessible city on the Atlantic seaboard and offers a number of accommodations quite close to the path of the eclipse. It will see a two and a half minute totality from 2:43 pm EDT.
It is best to keep track of weather forecasts for a week leading up to the big day. Mobility should be factored in because you shouldn’t be confined to a single spot. A looming cloud could really hamper the two precious minutes of totality for you.
Author Bio: Walter Moore is a blogger and traveler. He spares no expense in finding the most beautiful views all around the world and tries his best to do solid research and write about it on his blog to let the world know where they can find a slice of heaven. His recent set of posts covers the total solar eclipse in August 2017.