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Witness a Solar Eclipse
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
On Aug. 21, 2017, the moon will pass between the sun and the Earth.
If you're in the right place at the right time, you will get to see a total solar eclipse — when the moon will completely blot out the sun's light for two minutes or more. This is the only time it's ever safe to look straight at the sun with the naked eye. A dozen states in the USA — from Oregon to South Carolina — will offer prime views of the event, according to Total Solar Eclipse 2017. You can pair this natural phenomenon — which will be visible from the continental United States for the first time in nearly 40 years — with a local music, arts or food festival. Here's a look at vantage points across the country:
The total eclipse will be visible in the coastal town of Newport at about 10:15 a.m. local time. Catch almost two minutes of total darkness in Albany, then stick around to take in the Northwest Art & Air Festival, featuring dozens of colorful hot air balloons launching morning and night, plus art displays and a classic car show.
Next, the eclipse will cut straight through the widest part of Idaho, where you can climb the 3,860-meter Borah Peak — the state’s highest point — for breathtaking views. You can also plan your eclipse sighting around the annual Caldwell Night Rodeo, a five-night event that’s considered one of the nation’s top outdoor rodeos.
If you want to watch the Earth fall into shadow from a pristine wilderness area, head to Wyoming, where you witness the eclipse from the southern part of Grand Teton National Park. Prior to the eclipse, take part in the Grand Teton Music Festival, a series of classical music concerts.
The shadow from the total eclipse will slice Nebraska almost in half, traveling straight from the northwest corner of the state to the southeast; Stapleton will be one of the best places for viewing. Pair your eclipse experience with the Maha Music Festival, a quirky celebration of summer in Omaha that draws acts from all over the USA.
The total eclipse will just nick the northeast corner of Kansas, but you’ll still be able to see it in communities like Troy. Afterward, plan on sampling the Roots Festival in Paola, a two-day event featuring Americana music, dancing and arts and crafts.
Missouri’s two biggest cities — Kansas City and St. Louis — are right in the path of the eclipse. Consider lingering in St. Louis to take in the late-August Festival of Nations, which attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year for multicultural music, dancing, games and foods.
The very southern portion of Illinois will see more than two minutes of darkness from the total eclipse. While you’re there, consider heading north to Chicago to experience one of the country’s largest street festivals, Northalsted Market Days.
The eclipse’s shadow will cut through the western half of Kentucky, visible from towns like Franklin and Russellville. While you’re in the state, make time to visit the Kentucky State Fair in Louisville. Events include a world champion horse show, performances by country music stars and beer brewing demonstrations.
Next, the eclipse can be seen from the middle of Tennessee, shadowing the capital of country music, Nashville. While in the area, plan on visiting the Grand Ole Opry, one of the most country’s most famous live music venues, the Country Music Hall of Fame and other music-themed attractions.
You’ll be able to see two minutes or more of total darkness from several towns, with Clayton having one of the best views. Once the eclipse is over, head to Atlanta to sample such events as the Decatur BBQ, Blues & Bluegrass festival or the two-day, kid-friendly Piedmont Park Arts Festival.
You’ll have another chance to see a total eclipse in a beautiful wilderness setting when it crosses over the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Allow time to explore the park and sample a nearby event, such as the State Bluegrass Festival.
The eclipse will cut through the middle of South Carolina before ending its United States run near Charleston, at about 2:36 p.m. local time. Given the summer heat, your best bet would be to follow the locals to Hilton Head Island, for pristine beaches, a wide variety of outdoor excursions and some two dozen golf courses.
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