Best Cities to See the 2017 Solar Eclipse

Ten top cities represent 10 U.S. states.

By Kevin Litwin on Mon, 07/31/2017 - 09:00

It won’t be cloudy. Hopefully.

If you’re planning on viewing the 2017 solar eclipse on Monday Aug. 21 (I definitely am), then here are some of the best cities for watching when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth. That phenomenon will continuously cast parts of America into darkness from the West Coast to the East Coast, with the whole spectacle taking about 2 1/2 hours to complete, starting at around 10:15 a.m. PT in Oregon and ending at about 2:45 ET in South Carolina.

Each city along the path will have about 2 minutes of solar eclipse time, so embrace the darkness, folks.

Casper, WY

For 2 minutes and 26 seconds beginning at 11:42 a.m. MT, all of Casper will plunge into darkness, and several events are scheduled as part of Wyoming Eclipse Festival 2017. That includes the Astronomical League holding their annual Astrocon Conference in Casper before and during Eclipse Day.

Nashville, TN

Music City is the largest city in the path of the total eclipse, with the event occurring for 1 minute, 57 seconds beginning at 1:27 CT. Activities include a Music City Eclipse Science & Technology Festival at the downtown Adventure Science Center.


Explore NASA's Interactive Eclipse Map


Columbia, SC

An appearance by Apollo 16 astronaut Charles Duke at the Capitol Building highlights the activities occurring on Eclipse Day in Columbia, with the phenomenon taking place starting at 2:43 ET and lasting for 2 minutes, 30 seconds.

St. Joseph, MO

This city north of Kansas City in The Show Me State has five planned viewing areas, including a party at Rosecrans Memorial Airport. The total eclipse in St. Joseph will occur for 2 minutes, 39 seconds beginning at 1:06 p.m. CT.

Salem, OR

The Oregon State Fairgrounds will be ideal for watching the total eclipse when it arrives in Salem at 10:19 a.m. PT for 2 minutes, 4 seconds. The Oregon Museum of Science & Industry will host several events at the fairgrounds.

Rexburg, ID

Brigham Young University Idaho will provide a perfect viewing area for the total eclipse that starts at 11:33 a.m. MT and will last for 2 minutes, 18 seconds. Another good spot in Idaho to watch the excitement is Craters of the Moon (how appropriate) National Monument & Preserve.

Grand Island, NE

The Stuhr Museum in Grand Island has scheduled many Eclipse Day festivities, including the launch of an official NASA observation balloon. The total eclipse will last for 2 minutes, 30 seconds and commence at 11:49 a.m. MT.


After the Eclipse, Find the 10 Best Cities for Viewing Meteor Showers


Carbondale, IL

Carbondale is home to Southern Illinois University, and a huge watch party is planned at Saluki Field. The total eclipse in Carbondale will begin at 1:20 p.m. CT and last for 2 minutes, 41 seconds.

Hopkinsville, KY

The Little Green Men Festival is part of the fun activities associated with Eclipse Day in Hopkinsville, and a great place to watch is from the Jefferson Davis State Historic Site. The total eclipse will last 2 minutes, 41 seconds beginning at 1:24 p.m. CT.

Bryson City, NC

The planetarium in Bryson City will provide an excellent viewing area, plus there will be rides aboard the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad to high-elevation Eclipse Day locations. The total eclipse will occur beginning at 2:34 p.m. and last for 1 minute, 57 seconds.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kevin Litwin is the author of Crazy Lucky Dead and a freelance feature writer with a career spanning more than 20 years. He was previously an editor for a small-town newspaper for 10 years, and is now...