Best places to watch the total solar eclipse
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A partial solar eclipse will be visible from all of North America on Aug. 21. But only certain cities within 14 U.S. states will be able to see the total eclipse, the brief phase of the celestial event when the moon completely blocks out the sun.
Here are the best U.S. cities within the eclipse’s path of totality to watch the show:
The solar eclipse starts at 9:05 a.m. PDT and totality begins at 10:17 a.m. PDT, lasting for nearly 2 minutes.
The city of Salem is already making plans for the big event. The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry will host a viewing party at the State Fairgrounds in the city.
Life Church is offering dry RV parking on a large field at its property in West Salem for people looking for a spot to watch the eclipse.
The solar eclipse starts at 9:06 a.m. PDT and totality begins at 10:19 a.m. PDT, lasting for about 2 minutes.
The 2017 Oregon Solarfest and eclipse viewing will take place in Madras. The festival, which runs from Aug. 18 through Aug. 21, will have a three-day lineup of music and entertainment.
Idaho Falls, Idaho
The solar eclipse starts at 10:15 a.m. MDT and totality begins at 11:33 a.m. MDT, lasting for just under 2 minutes.
The city of Idaho Falls is planning to host many guests in the region for the celestial phenomenon. According to NASA, the city will have four designated viewing locations — Old Butte Park, Tautphaus Park, Freeman Park and Community Park — where there will be public restrooms, public parking and plenty of open space to watch the eclipse.
The solar eclipse starts at 10:16 a.m. MDT and totality begins just before 11:35 a.m. MDT, lasting for a little over 2 minutes.
The centerline of the total eclipse will pass over the southern part of Grand Teton National Park in the Jackson Hole valley, making it one of the best places in the country to experience the astronomical event.
Steven Hawley, a former astronaut and senior manager at NASA, told ABC News he plans to travel from his home in Lawrence, Kansas, about 1,000 miles to Jackson to watch the eclipse. It will be his first time seeing a total eclipse from the ground.
In 1979, Hawley witnessed a total solar eclipse from an airplane at an altitude of 43,000 feet.
Hawley said he was flying through the lunar shadow. “You could kind of see the shadow on the Earth’s surface,” he told ABC News. “It’s a unique perspective.”
The solar eclipse starts at 10:22 a.m. MDT and totality begins at 11:42 a.m. MDT, lasting for a little under 2 1/2 minutes.
The Wyoming Eclipse Festival will take place in Casper, where residents, scientists, photographers and eclipse chasers from across the globe will march to the line of totality in the city on Aug. 21. The festival will also have a lineup of special activities and programs all week long.
Retired NASA astrophysicist and photographer Fred Espenak told ABC News he plans to travel from his home in Portal, Arizona, about 1,000 miles to Casper to speak at eclipse-related events and to watch the event. But if clear skies aren’t in the forecast there that day, Espenak said he may travel west or east to another city along the path of totality to get the best view.
“It all boils down to what the weather is going to do,” Espenak told ABC News. “Any place along that path can be clear or cloudy on eclipse day.”
The solar eclipse starts at 11:37 a.m. CDT and totality begins at 1:02 p.m. CDT, lasting for a little under 1 1/2 minutes.
The city of Lincoln’s Convention and Visitors Bureau is planning a range of events on Aug. 21. Haymarket Park, home of the Lincoln Saltdogs baseball team, will provide spectacular eclipse viewing points and interactive events as well as indoor and outdoor talks and presentations. As the eclipse approaches, the baseball game will enter an “eclipse delay” so fans and players can enjoy the rare event.
Jefferson City, Missouri
The solar eclipse starts at 11:46 a.m. CDT and totality begins at 1:13 p.m. CDT, lasting for roughly 2 1/2 minutes.
Beginning Aug. 19, Jefferson will host a three-day celebration of art, astronomy and live entertainment as well as a viewing of the Aug. 21 eclipse on the Missouri State Capitol lawn and at various other locations around the city.
NASA anticipates the total solar eclipse to last longest near Carbondale, about 100 miles southeast of St. Louis, where the sun will be completely covered for about 2 minutes and 40 seconds. The eclipse begins here at 11:52 a.m. CDT and totality starts at 1:20 p.m. CDT.
The solar eclipse starts at 11:54 a.m. CDT and totality begins at 1:22 p.m. CDT, lasting for a little over 2 minutes.
The solar eclipse starts at 12:04 p.m. CDT and totality begins at 1:32 p.m. CDT, lasting for about 2 1/2 minutes.
Nashville will be partially in the path of totality. There, the solar eclipse starts at 11:58 a.m. CDT and totality begins at 1:27 p.m. CDT, lasting for a little under 2 minutes.
Nashville’s Adventure Science Center will host a three-day festival packed with live music, science demonstrations, solar telescope viewing stations and an eclipse viewing party on Aug. 21 with a massive screen broadcasting NASA footage of the moon blocking the sun.
The solar eclipse starts at 1:06 p.m. EDT and totality begins at 2:35 p.m. EDT, lasting for roughly 2 1/2 minutes.
Rabun County, which encompasses Clayton, is planning various events in the region for those wanting to observe the eclipse from northeastern Georgia. Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School will host a viewing party the once-in-a-lifetime event.
Columbia, South Carolina
The solar eclipse starts at 1:13 p.m. EDT and totality begins at 2:41 p.m. EDT, lasting for 2 1/2 minutes.
The city of Columbia will host the Total Eclipse Weekend from Aug. 18 to Aug. 21, featuring a long weekend of more than 80 eclipse-related festivals and events.
Charleston, South Carolina
Only part of Charleston will be able to see totality. There, the solar eclipse starts at 1:17 p.m. EDT and totality begins at 2:46 p.m. EDT, lasting for about 1 1/2 minutes.
Charleston’s MUSC Health Stadium will host a family-friendly eclipse viewing party complete with astronomy-related activities, a science-based kids zone, local food, drinks and entertainment. The city will also provide other viewing locations and eclipse-related activities at various parks.
Wherever you choose to go, Hawley, the former NASA astronaut, advises booking any travel tickets and hotel reservations way in advance and to expect plenty of traffic on the road.
“I’d recommend having a plan,” Hawley told ABC News.
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