August 21 marks the next total eclipse of the sun in the contiguous United States. If you miss it, you won’t see another one until 2024. However, that solar eclipse won’t be as expansive as the one happening next month. Next August, the eclipse path will traverse the country and move in a direction that extends 3000 miles from the Pacific coast of Oregon, to where we wave goodbye to it at South Carolina’s Cape Island.
For anyone that has never witnessed a solar eclipse, you will, for the first time in your life, see the moon cast an umbra shadow as it passes between the sun and the earth. If you are lucky enough to be in the eclipse path in a city without extensive cloud cover, you will be able to glimpse the rare event.
The Eclipse Path Begins at Yaquina Head, Oregon
The eclipse begins making its trek in Oregon at Yaquina Head. This headland and coastal area is the first place that will be in the eclipse path of totality, meaning that viewers in the area would be able to see the moon totally block the sun. We say would because viewers in this area won’t see the astronomical phenomenon because they are unlucky enough to be in an area of coastline that is historically cloudy. NOAA indicated that chances of a clear day in Yaquina Head for those in the eclipse path would be about 44 percent, according to the Washington Post.
Fortunately, there are other places in Oregon where the eclipse of the sun will be visible. Chances are high that as the eclipse path makes its way through the Cascade Range that you will be able to catch an unobstructed view. Viewers will be able to see a one-of-a kind-sight as the dark shadow of the moon crosses Mount Jefferson, a part of the Cascade Range. Madras, a central part of Oregon and a prime viewing area of the state, will also be the first place to encounter the total darkness of the eclipse.
Another area to catch the August eclipse is at the Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho, which is south of the eclipse path of totality. Interestingly enough, astronauts have used its lava fields as training grounds. The festivities for the event will be held in nearby Arco, Idaho.
Likewise, St. Joseph, Missouri is boasting that it will be one of the best places to be in the eclipse path and claims that another one like it won’t pass through for 189 years. Meanwhile, viewers from the Western city of Casper, Wyoming can expect to see an entertaining and crowded event due to ideal conditions. The area has a high elevation of 5,200 feet and a dry climate that make for prime viewing conditions.
Another interesting and unique place to see a clear view of the solar eclipse is in Carhenge, north of Alliance, Nebraska. The Carhenge structure is similar to Stonehenge but is made out of cars instead of stone. Carhenge is a perfect fit for viewing because Stonehenge, some scholars believe, may have allowed the builders to predict celestial events such as eclipses.
Marketing The Eclipse Path
Other areas along the eclipse path have introduced events and festivities to capitalize on the visitors that will be descending upon their towns and cities. From the four-day Moonfest Country Music Festival in Idaho Falls, to the ski resorts in Jackson, Wyoming that is selling tickets to view solar eclipse from “chairlifts and gondolas,” merchants are hoping to obtain a big share of the proceeds obtained from the event.
Where to Wave Goodbye to Solar Eclipse 2017
The solar eclipse of 2017 will make its final appearance in the southern United States. That being said, if you like to take your eclipse in with a good dose of aliens, then you’ll want to take in the fun times at Kelly, Kentucky at Little Green Men Days Festival. The battle between Kelly residents and space invaders is recounted at the festival, along with other fun activities.
Music lovers can enjoy the solar eclipse and get into the musical spirit of things at The Music City of Nashville, Tennessee. The Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. will be playing eclipse-appropriate songs as “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler, “Space Oddity” by David Bowie, and “You Are My Sunshine” by Johnny Cash.
The eclipse path of totality will encompass 20 national parks; park goers who want to trek a long way to match the long trek of the moon’s shadow can accomplish this by hiking four miles that begin on the Appalachian Trail and extends to the summit of Albert Mountain.
According to the United States Naval Observatory, the event will have the longest duration if you are in Shawnee National Forest. Viewers in the eclipse path will see the solar eclipse last 2 minutes, 44 seconds. The city with the longest duration will be in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, and those in the eclipse path will enjoy the longest solar eclipse time at 2 minutes, 40 seconds.
The moon’s shadow will make its last appearance at Cape Island in South Carolina. A perfect place to take in the spectacular sight and be directly in the eclipse path will be at Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge.
Lastly, it seems really touristy to us, but tell us that you wouldn’t want to own a solar eclipse T-shirt that reads, “I Blacked Out in Brown County?” If you do, then park yourself in Hiawatha, Kansas for the best place to be for you in the eclipse path. You’ll be able to own the garment and watch the awe-inspiring event.
[Featured image by David Zalubowski/AP Images]