Great American Eclipse Announces 10 Best Places to View the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse 1 Year From Now

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One year from today, tens of millions of Americans will see the total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017. Now is the time to start making plans for your perfect spot to view the total solar eclipse.

Total Solar Eclipse 2013 viewed from Gabon

You will be looking straight down a perfectly aligned cosmic billiard shot of the Earth, Moon, and Sun.

A total solar eclipse is easily nature’s most spectacular sight. At the moment when the Moon completely covers the Sun, daylight quickly turns into a deep twilight with planets and bright stars becoming visible. Viewing the sun’s corona in a total solar eclipse is a peak life experience.

The Great American Eclipse of August 21, 2017 begins in the Pacific Ocean and enters the United States at Yaquina Head, Oregon at 10:15 a.m. PDT. Over the next 92 minutes, the Moon’s shadow races across Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. This total solar eclipse will be the first in the continental United States since 1979 and the first to cross the nation from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean since 1918. This will also be the very first total solar eclipse to cross exclusively over the USA and no other country since our nation’s founding in 1776.

The most important criterion for selecting a viewing site is the weather. Any location along the path of totality from Oregon to South Carolina can enjoy good weather on eclipse day, but the western half of the United States, especially from the Willamette Valley of Oregon to the Nebraska Sandhills, will enjoy the best weather odds.

Every eclipse viewer should have a plan for mobility. Locations with a good nearby highway systems are best. Across the US, the path of the eclipse is between 60 and 70 miles wide. The longer durations are closer to the centerline of the path of totality.

Where is the best location to see the eclipse?

Michael Zeiler, founder of Great American Eclipse, is one of the world's leading solar eclipse experts and lists these top ten picks for perfect viewing spots:

1. Madras, Oregon
Duration of totality is 2 minutes, 4 seconds
Totality begins at 10:19 a.m. PDT

The interior of Oregon enjoys the nation’s best weather odds. Madras is accessible from Portland within a two-hour drive and sits at the junction of four highways for good mobility. A bonus will be to see Mt. Jefferson to the west darken as totality envelops this prominent peak just before totality in Madras.

2. Snake River Valley, Idaho
Duration of totality is 2 minutes, 12 seconds
Totality begins at 11:26 a.m. MDT

The Snake River Valley in eastern Idaho will be a prime area for the eclipse. There are good weather prospects here plus many uncrowded highways and roads to get around if clouds threaten.

3. Casper, Wyoming
Duration of totality is 2 minutes, 26 seconds
Totality begins at 11:42 a.m. MDT

It is for good reason that the Astronomical League is holding their annual Astrocon Conference in Casper just before eclipse day. Casper not only has great weather prospects, but also uncrowded highways that extend west, east, north, and south for every weather contingency.

4. Sandhills, Nebraska
Duration of totality is 2 minutes, 30 seconds
Totality beings at 11:49 a.m. MDT

The Sandhills country of Nebraska will be a popular location for viewing the eclipse. A bonus is dark summer night skies and a great view of the Milky Way.

5. St. Joseph, Missouri
Duration of totality is 2 minutes, 39 seconds
Totality begins at 1:06 p.m. CDT

St. Joseph sits right on the centerline of the eclipse path and enjoys one of the longest durations of any sizable city in the nation. A large eclipse viewing party will be held at the Rosecrans Memorial Airport with educational speakers, solar telescopes, and more.

6. Point of longest eclipse near Carbondale, Illinois
Duration of totality is 2 minutes, 41.6 seconds
Totality begins at 1:20 p.m. CDT

Carbondale is near the crossing of both the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse and the coming April 8, 2024 total solar eclipse! Also, Carbondale is close to the point of very longest eclipse duration. A large NASA-sponsored eclipse viewing party will be at the Southern Illinois University campus.

7. Hopkinsville, Kentucky
Duration of totality is 2 minutes, 41.2 seconds
Totality begins at 1:24 p.m. CDT

Hopkinsville is the spot where the Sun, Moon, and Earth line up most perfectly on eclipse day. If you would like to join a festive crowd, Hopkinsville will certainly be a great location to enjoy the eclipse.

8. Nashville, Tennessee
Duration of totality is 1 minute, 57 seconds
Totality begins at 1:27 p.m. CDT

Nashville is the largest city entirely within the path of the total solar eclipse. Sumner County boasts one of the longest eclipse durations along the path.

9. Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the Georgia/Tennessee border
Duration of totality is 1 minute, 17 seconds
Totality begins at 2:35 p.m. EDT

The Great Smoky Mountains, weather permitting, provides the dramatic possibility of seeing the Moon’s shadow racing across the landscape from a mountaintop.

10. Columbia, South Carolina
Duration of totality is 2 minutes, 30 seconds
Totality begins at 2:43 p.m. EDT

Columbia enjoys a long duration of totality plus a fine network of highways for mobility on eclipse day. For millions of Americans along the Atlantic coast, this will be the most accessible city with accommodations in the path of total solar eclipse.

Detailed information about every state that the eclipse visits including dozens of maps can be found at

Important eye safety tip: approved solar eclipse viewing glasses must be worn during the partial phases of the eclipse.

GIVEAWAY: Great American Eclipse will be donating 200 eclipse viewing glasses and one wall sized eclipse map to one elementary school in each of the 10 best places to view the eclipse! Schools can be nominated though our facebook page.

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Polly White

Michael Zeiler
since: 11/2010
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