On Aug. 21, the solar eclipse’s Path of Totality could very well be coming to a city near your next event.
Even though 14 solar eclipses have been visible in the U.S. in the last 100 years, this one, dubbed The Great American Eclipse, is the first one to occur in the 21st century—hence the excitement. The Path of Totality, a 100-mile-wide viewing area in which the moon completely blocks the sun, will span the entire U.S. from west to east. While the solar eclipse will be visible from almost anywhere in the country, here are the top five places for groups to get the best views and maybe participate in some local eclipse-related festivities.
Located about a two-hour drive from Portland, Ore., Madras will welcome groups with its Solarfest festival in partnership with NASA. While the Oregon Coast is said to have excellent views as well, the fear of coastal clouds means more people will likely be heading to Madras, especially with aircraft collections and a concert series happening in conjunction with the 9:06 a.m. beginning of the eclipse—including two full minutes of total darkness to happen at 10:19 a.m.
The small mountain town of Casper will host Astrocon 2017, which includes an eclipse viewing party on Aug. 21 as well as a Pluto Run 10K Race on Aug. 19 and visits to the Casper Planetarium. The eclipse will last 2 minutes and 26 seconds, starting at about 10:22 a.m. and reaching total darkness at 11:42 a.m.
St. Joseph, Mo.
Located about an hour outside of Kansas City, Mo., St. Joseph offers one of the best viewing opportunities with a spot right on the centerline of the eclipse path. It will have one of the longest totality moments of 2 minutes and 39 seconds, starting at 1:06 p.m. A large eclipse viewing party will happen at Rosecrans Memorial Airport, featuring educational speakers and solar telescopes.
In true Nashville form, the city already created a playlist for the eclipse on the CVB website and is offering vacation packages at 99 participating hotels. The packages come with a complimentary Nashville Solar Eclipse Gift Bag, including eclipse viewing glasses, a picnic blanket and a T-shirt voucher. Several public viewing sites are available in the city for attendees to watch the eclipse starting around 11:58 a.m., with totality happening at 1:27 p.m. for 1 minute and 57 seconds.
The eclipse will hit Columbia last, with complete darkness happening for 2 minutes and 30 seconds at 2:43 p.m. Local events will be happening throughout the day, including plays written by local playwrights and speakers who will discuss the history of solar eclipses.