Like many of you, we’re waiting with great anticipation for the coming Monday, August 21st when we get to be part of the total solar eclipse! This is practically a once-in-a-lifetime event and the last time man got to witness this across the United States was in 1918.
Some fun info from Wikipedia:
“A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, thereby totally or partly obscuring the image of the sun for a viewer on Earth. A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon’s apparent diameter is larger than the sun’s, blocking all direct sunlight, turning day into darkness. Totality occurs in a narrow path across Earth’s surface, with the partial solar eclipse visible over a surrounding region thousands of kilometers wide.
This eclipse is the 22nd of the 77 members of Saros series 145, which also produced the solar eclipse of August 11, 1999. Members of this series are increasing in duration. The longest eclipse in this series will occur on June 25, 2522 and last for 7 minutes and 12 seconds.”
Pretty wild, huh? As you might imagine, once word got out that the Smoky Mountains, a vacation spot for millions each year and the #1 most popular national park in the country, was going to be a prime spot to see the event, a great amount of interest for visiting the Smokies around that time started flooding in. As we’re close to that date, here’s an update from nps.gov:
“Where Can I See The Eclipse?
The entire western half of Great Smoky Mountains National Park will fall under the path of totality for the eclipse, providing opportunities for viewing, weather permitting. The park is currently planning organized public viewing events at three locations in the park: Clingmans Dome; Cades Cove; and Oconaluftee. Visit the Great Smoky Mountains Association page to buy an Eclipse Regional Map.
Clingmans Dome: Clingmans Dome Trailhead parking area will be converted to a special ticketed event site for experiencing the eclipse with the assistance of experts, educational exhibits, and story tellers. The Clingmans Dome tower will be limited to MEDIA ACCESS ONLY, but there are many opportunities for viewing from the parking area and along the 0.5 mile trail to the tower. Tickets for the Clingmans Dome event are sold out. Any cancelled tickets will become available to the public again, so visit recreation.gov regularly to watch for cancellations. You must have a ticket to attend the event at Clingmans Dome. NASA will be streaming live from Clingmans Dome and other locations around the country. Watch the NASA Livestream on August 21. Clingmans Dome Road will be closed on Sunday, August 20th and Monday, August 21st to accommodate the special event. Call 865-436-1585 with questions about the event.
Cades Cove and Oconaluftee: The park is currently planning to host informal staff- guided eclipse viewing sites at Cable Mill (Cades Cove) and 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.
The Park is still working on details for these events, so check back here often for updated information as it becomes available.
Visitors may view the eclipse from other areas of the park on your own, though due to the influx of eclipse viewers during the already-busy season, the Park Service may need to close certain areas on August 21st to reduce gridlock, which may include Newfound Gap Road and Cades Cove.”
You can see our previous article on the solar eclipse, plus a design to build your own solar eclipse viewer here: http://douglaslakevacations.com/august-eclipse-coming-to-the-smokies-this-summer/.
And you’ll want to keep up to date on the solar eclipse news at https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/2017-solar-eclipse.htm.