Mark well this date: Monday, August 21, 2017. A total solar eclipse. The first such eclipse in the continental United States in nearly 40 years. And best of all, right in our own back yard. The path of this eclipse will stretch from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina, the first transcontinental eclipse in 99 years.
For Tennessee the central path of totality will occur at approximately 1:30 p.m. CDT in Clarksville (just north of Nashville), and 2:35 p.m. EDT in Athens (just north of Cleveland). Note that the elapsed travel time is only five minutes. Total occultation of the sun will last almost three minutes along this line. Total occultation will be experienced for about 35 miles north and south of that line, but a shorter blackout period.
Plan to personally experience the 2017 eclipse. During totality it can get as dark as night; stars will pop into view; the temperature of the air can drop more than 10 degrees; dew may form on the grass; birds will stop flying and roost. Of course, you cannot look at any part of the sun without powerful eye protection. For a detailed map of the path of the eclipse, go to www.eclipse2017.org/2017/maps/ky-tn-nc.gif.
If you are thinking of getting a hotel room or campground in the totality path, good luck. International and interstate scientists and observers have already captured most of those. Even NASA has 11 scientific studies planned nationally on the ground and above. For an exceptionally picturesque setting, try Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
For more information, including a live view of the eclipse, should weather make it necessary, go to www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2017/eclipse-2017-nasa-supports-a-unique-opportunity-for-science-in-the-shadow.