Top 10 spots in East Tennessee to view the total solar eclipse

Total Solar Eclipse map (NASA)

On Monday, August 21, 2017, a solar eclipse will be visible across all of North America and pass right over areas like the Smoky Mountain National Park. Anyone within a roughly 70-mile-wide path from Oregon to South Carolina will experience a brief total eclipse when the moon blocks the sun for up to 2 minutes and 40 seconds.

The total solar eclipse will enter Tennessee at 1:25 p.m. Central Time and leave at 2:35 p.m. Eastern Time. Weather permitting, it will be visible in areas like the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and Oak Ridge.

The best place to view the eclipse is inside the path and where you have clear skies. Wherever you go, every eclipse viewer should have a plan for mobility. Even in the sunniest locations, you don’t want to be caught under a cloud during the two minutes the total eclipse happens.

Pick a location with a good and uncrowded highway system that you can use to relocate. Stay flexible.

1. Fort Loudoun State Historic Park

The fort will experience the full eclipse beginning at 2:33 p.m. and will last approximately two and a half minutes, the longest for any East Tennessee State Park.

The park is holding a free event from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Fort Loudoun. They will provide eclipse glasses.

In addition to viewing the solar eclipse, the ranger will have information about 18th-century beliefs of solar eclipses as well as the actual science behind the eclipse.

2. Clingman’s Dome

At 6,643 feet in elevation, Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a spot the National Park Service says will show a unique view of the total solar eclipse.

The total solar eclipse will last for one minute and 24 seconds. The start of the partial eclipse will begin at 1:06 p.m. and end at 4:00 p.m, but the total eclipse will last from 1:35 p.m. to 1:26 p.m.

The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is hosting a special ticketed event at Clingmans Dome. Tickets for the event are already sold out.

The national park is partnering with NASA, Southwestern Community College and Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to provide a special program with featured speakers and storytellers and explain the science and culture connection to Clingmans Dome.

3. Sweetwater

Historic Sweetwater

Sweetwater is in the path of totality for the Toal Solar Eclipse. Observers there will see the total solar eclipse for approximately two minutes and 37 seconds.

There will be an eclipse festival in beautiful Historic Downtown Sweetwater from 10 am – 5 pm on Monday, August 21, 2017. The partial phase starts at 1:03 p.m. and the total solar eclipse starts at 2:32 p.m.

More: Countdown to total solar eclipse begins in Sweetwater

4. Ocoee

(Courtesy: Adventures Unlimited)

Ocoee is in the path of totality for the total solar eclipse. Observers will see the total solar eclipse for approximately one minute and 25 seconds.

Adventures Unlimited in Ocoee is planning an eclipse rafting trip along the Middle Ocoee River. The cost is $70 dollars per person, which includes a trip on the water during the eclipse, viewing glasses, dinner and live music after the trip.

5. Cades Cove

Cades cove (Kristina Plaas photo/ NPS)

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is hosting an informal eclipse viewing site at Cable Mill in Cades Cove. There will be no charge to participate. Vehicle access to these sites, though, may be closed when parking becomes full or roads become congested.

6. Ocanuluftee

Oconaluftee Visitor Center (NPS)

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is hosting an informal eclipse viewing site at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center. There will be no charge to participate. Vehicle access to these sites, though, may be closed when parking becomes full or roads become congested.

7. Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont

Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont (GSMNP)

 

The Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont is planning a special multi-day Science Camp for high school aged students over the eclipse weekend and event. For more information on this opportunity as details become available, go to the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont website.

8. Look Rock

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN,Look Rock

One of the best views of the Tennessee mountains is from the observation tower at Look Rock.

The concrete tower is high above the trees and mountains. There is plenty of parking along the Parkway. The trail crosses the road at the end of the parking lot.It is a short hike up to the observation tower. The observation tower is small

It is a short hike up to the observation tower. The observation tower is small though.

9. Townsend

River Rat Tubing (Google)

The “Totality Tuber Solar Eclipse Celebration” will take place at River Rat Tubing in Townsend.

For $25 per person, tubers get a glow in the dark t-shirt and a unique view of the eclipse. The total eclipse will start in Townsend at around 1:34 and last about one minute and 28 seconds.

After the total solar eclipse, there will be live music and family activities at River Rat Tubing’s main building, located at 205 Wears Valley Road.

10. Pellissippi State Community College’s Blount County Campus

Pellissipi State Community College’s Blount County Campus (Pellissippi State)

Pellissippi Sate is planning a community and college-wide watch party at their Blount County Campus.

The college is also participating in a NASA experiment during the eclipse. The college will launch a high altitude balloon to gather data and conduct experiments during the two-minute window of the total eclipse. Video from the balloon of the eclipse will be streamed live to NASA’s website.

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