It hasn't happened for 26 years and it's happening next August! Eclipse day is set for August 21, 2017 and if you don't live in an eclipse state, then you're going to have to travel to see it happening! Make a little educational student vacation out of it and find a fantastic spot within the totality path of the eclipse which will run from Oregon through South Carolina. Remember to wear eye protection when observing a partial and a total solar eclipse!
P.S. The next solar eclipse will be in 2024, so see it now!
Oregon - The first spot to see the eclipse is at Lincoln Beach north of Newport, a beautiful rocky spot that gets almost two full minutes of total eclipse time. From there, the eclipse extends to Albany, Lebanon, Madras, Prairie City, and others before leaving the state. Portland is not in the eclipse path but it's only a hour's drive to Albany if you're vacationing or living in the fantastically odd city. Also, Salem, the state's capital city, falls within the path and if you're standing on the capitol steps at 10:17 am, you'll be able to catch the total eclipse.
Idaho - The path will cut straight through central Idaho, covering 312 miles of land. There are fewer cities in Idaho, however, and you might have to travel somewhat to find a spot to witness the full eclipse. Rexburg, Idaho Falls, Stanley and Mackay are some that receive the eclipse, at varying lengths. It is the highest point in the state, Borah Peak, that will get the best views in the end and might be pretty cool for the recreational people in your group.
Wyoming - As Montana only gets a tiny portion, Wyoming is next on the list showing off with 365.7 miles. Yellowstone lies outside the totality however, the southern portion of Grand Teton National Park lies within the path and would make an absolutely fantastic spot to view the full eclipse. Other cities that will be in the path include Shoshoni, Riverton, Pavillion, Thermopolis, and Casper which will be hit dead center.
Nebraska - Nebraska is a lucky state when it comes to the full solar eclipse. Several large cities, including the capital, will be within the path of totality, 468 miles to be exact. Although Omaha is not in the path, you can catch the sight in Alliance and Scottsbluff, North Platte, Hastings, and Grand Island. Lincoln does get the full eclipse, but for a shorter time than those cities that fall along the center line.
Missouri - Both Kansas City and St. Louis are partially within the path, making for amazing choices for your getaway. Because both cities are split in half by the path, they will only get short full eclipse durations. You can get a much better, and longer, view at suburbs like KC's Liberty or Excelsior Springs or St. Joseph. St. Louis people should head south and west, maybe even to St. Clair or Festus. Columbia, Marshall, Boonville, and even Cape Girardeau in the southern part of the state will receive an enviable amount of time with the full eclipse.
Kentucky - The eclipse's path through Kentucky runs across the southwestern portion and only shadows 98 miles, making the choices for viewing a little slimmer than those in the preceding states. Paducah, Eddyville, and Hopkinsville are the top spots in Kentucky to see the eclipse, as are Franklin and Russellville. Tourist destinations like Louisville, Lexington, or Mammoth Cave are not in the path at all so if you're visiting these destinations, travel southwest to see the main eclipse.
Tennessee - If you're in Nashville to visit the Grand Ole Opry, you're in luck. The eclipse passes right over Nashville and other Tennessee cities including Athens, Springfield, Portland, Westmoreland, as well as Sparta and Baxter which lie on the center line. Neither Chattanooga nor Knoxville are located within the path. Again, for the recreational types, Clingmans Dome along the Tennessee, North Carolina edge, would be a perfect spot to view the eclipse.
South Carolina - After a brief stretch through Georgia and North Carolina, South Carolina will end out the total solar eclipse over American soil. The eclipse will first touch the state at around 2:36 pm and cross over large cities like Greenville and Sumter. The lakes of Marion and Moutrie outside of Sumter are also in the full path and would be beautiful spots to witness the astronomical event. If you have the option, you might like to be among the last people to see the eclipse over North America, stationing your group on the island beach and Wildlife Reserve at Cape Romain, just outside of McClellanville.
The eclipse path only streaks through a minor portion of the following states. There are places to see the eclipse from these states, there are just fewer cities to do so:
- Montana - As sparsely habitated as Montana is, there are very few places to witness the eclipse. No populated areas will even be able to see the shadow line as it passes over the smallest portion of the southwestern tip.
- Kansas - The eclipse's path cuts through the very northeastern corner of the state, with the full eclipse only being visible in Troy, Atchison, Hiawatha, and Seneca.
- Iowa - Only three square miles on the southwestern edge of the state will be able to see the shadow of the eclipse, and no one will be able to see the full eclipse.
- Illinois - The entire southern tip of Illinois will be within the path, including cities like Marion, Harrisburg, and Carbondale. Chicago and its suburbs will not be able to see the full eclipse.
- North Carolina - The western part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will fall under the eclipse's shadow but only a few cities will be able to catch the full eclipse: Murphy, Andrews, or Franklin.
- Georgia - The Peach State's northeastern portion is in the path of totality, but only a small slice. Toccoa, Georgia, will bask in the total eclipse for about two minutes before it moves on to South Carolina.
For more information on the eclipse, check out NationalEclipse.com!