Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Total Eclipse Of The Sun Will Pass Through The Great Smoky Mountains

There's no time like the present to begin planning for the future. Yesterday I just happened to come across a website that mentioned there will be a total eclipse of the Sun next year. This is significant because it will be the first total solar eclipse visible from the contiguous United States since 1979, and will be the first total eclipse visible from the southeastern United States since March 7, 1970.

In case you fell asleep during your high school astronomy class, a solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, thus totally (or partially) obscuring the Sun. If you're located within the narrow path of a total solar eclipse, the Moon will appear to be larger than the Sun, thus blocking all direct sunlight and briefly turning the day into night.

Next year's lunar/solar event will take place on Monday, August 21, 2017. The path of the total eclipse will pass over the western half of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, with the center passing near Tellico Plains.

The longest duration of totality will take place within the Shawnee National Forest, located just south of Carbondale, Illinois, and will last for 2 minutes and 41.6 seconds. The greatest extent will occur between Hopkinsville and Princeton, Kentucky. Viewers must be within the central path to see the total phase of the eclipse, though you'll still be able to see a partial eclipse hundreds of miles away (as seen in the nearby NASA GIF map).

For much more information, please visit the NASA website which has an interactive map, as well as tables listing times for important stages of the eclipse.


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