Eclipse hunters will converge on the United States this year, hoping to catch a glimpse of the first complete solar eclipse to visit the continental USA since 1979. On 21st August, the moon will eclipse the sun, causing darkness to fall in the middle of the day for a couple of minutes. The path of the eclipse will reach from Oregon to South Carolina, and there are loads of parties to celebrate its appearance everywhere in between. This will be your last chance to catch a full solar eclipse in the States until 2024, so check it out while you can! And don’t forget to wear eye protection – though incredible to behold, looking directly at a solar eclipse can cause severe eye damage. Much of continental America will see a partial eclipse, but we’ve rounded up a list of the places right in the midst of all the action, where you’ll be able to see the full eclipse in all its glory!
The first place to catch a glimpse of the eclipse will be the west coast state of Oregon. The state’s capital Salem will experience the full effect, as will cities like Dallas, Lebanon and Woodville. In the mountains, Madras and Warm Springs add a side order of natural beauty alongside the cosmic vision high above. In fact, Madras’s low chance of cloud makes it one of the better places to view the eclipse in this state, and it’s where Oregon Solarfest is held, with live entertainment and food vendors.
Mountainous Idaho is next up in the eclipse’s line of sight. The Snake River Valley’s lava fields and farms are your best bet here – you’ll get a full eclipse for more than two minutes (an eternity in eclipse terms!), with snow-capped mountains looming all around you. You’ll also be able experience the total eclipse in Stanley, Idaho Falls and Rexburg.
Combine the jaw-dropping beauty of Grand Teton National Park’s mountains and lakes with the incredible cosmic feat taking place above you in Wyoming. The park is one of the best places in the country to spot the eclipse, but if you’re elsewhere in Wyoming you can also experience the full effect in towns such as Shoshoni, Douglas and Torrington, as well as the city of Casper..
Hitting loads of cities and towns, there are no shortage of places from which to spot the eclipse in Nebraska. The sand hills of western Nebraska offer an amazing view, and on cloudless evenings you can see the Milky Way swirling right up above you. The eclipse will also hover over the state’s capital city, Lincoln, as well as Alliance and Falls City among others.
Making its way through the far north-east of Kansas, the eclipse will hit Troy and Seneca, as well as other towns and cities. While there’s not much else to do in this part of the state, it’s not too far to drive to Kansas City in Missouri, where you’ll find art and war museums, a zoo and even a Lego world!
Speaking of Kansas City, here you’ll catch a top-notch view of the eclipse, as you will also in the city of St Louis. The city of St Joseph will be the place to be, with Rosecrans Memorial Airport transforming into a massive eclipse viewing party! There will be astronomers on hand giving educational seminars, and solar telescopes so you can really make the most of this phenomenon.
Home to the longest full eclipse duration (in other words, where the moon blocks the sun for the longest period of time), you should definitely be considering Illinois for your eclipse-viewing trip. While Chicago won’t be privy to the full sensation, if you venture to Shawnee National Forest you’ll get a full two minutes and 44 seconds of standing open-mouthed, staring at the sky!
Yet another state with exquisite scenery lying under the path of the eclipse, Kentucky boasts some pretty spectacular viewing points! The Land Between the Lakes, the largest inland peninsula in the country, is one of the very best points from which to get an eyeful while surrounded by rugged forests and lakes.
Been putting off visiting Nashville? Well, wait no more, as this southern city will be right in line with the eclipse – in fact, it’s the largest city wholly within the path of the eclipse! Afterwards you can tick the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum off your bucket list, and try local delicacies like hot chicken, biscuits with gravy, and brisket.
Famed for its black bears, ancient mountains, and unique Appalachian culture, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will soon have another claim to fame: great visibility of the Great American Eclipse of 2017. The vast tracts of land in this park means you can watch the moon’s shadow race across miles of park in front of you. The park’s west will get you the best view.
Lucky last South Carolina has plenty of places where you can get a good glimpse of the final stages of the eclipse’s adventures across the USA. Passing through major cities including Greenville, Greenwood and Sumter, the cobblestoned streets of Charleston will also be privy to the rarity. The eclipse makes its last stop on a long stretch of isolated beach right off Cape Romain, making for a dramatic finale.