Unless you have been living on another planet, you know that on Monday, August 21, 2017, our country will fall into the path of a total solar eclipse. In case you were confused, this is a BIG deal. According to NASA.gov anyone within the path of totality can see one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights. This path, where the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun's tenuous atmosphere - the corona - can be seen, will stretch from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Observers outside this path will still see a partial solar eclipse where the moon covers part of the sun's disk. Luckily, in East Tennessee we are going to be in a perfect spot for viewing. Many of our towns and cities fall in the path of totality and if your area doesn't then it will just be a short drive to somewhere that does. Below are some tips for getting the most out of this natural phenomenon. This hasn't happened in our region for over 500 years!
Where to View the Eclipse:
Since we have a front row seat many places around are hosting parties or special viewing events. Below are just a few good options:
The Cove at Concord Park – Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett is hosting an eclipse viewing Party at the Cove at Concord Park. The event, which is free and open to the public, takes place from 11:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. A limited number of “eclipse glasses” will be available to aide in safely viewing the eclipse. Tootsie Truck will be on hand selling food, and Knoxville-based RMS, a veteran rock band, will play a wide variety of music that will include classic rock and R&B from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Attendees can also bring their own food to the event. Parking will be available at the Cove and across the street. Other areas of Concord Park will provide good viewing opportunities if no parking is available near the Eclipse Party.
Pellissippi State Community College’s Blount County Campus – Pellissippi Sate is planning a community and college-wide watch party at their Blount County Campus. The college is also participating in a NASA experiment during the eclipse. The college will launch a high altitude balloon to gather data and conduct experiments during the two-minute window of the total eclipse. Video from the balloon of the eclipse will be streamed live to NASA’s website.
Blount County Public Library – The library is holding a safe viewing party from 1 to 4 p.m. at their 508 N. Cusick location in Maryville. The library will hand out 100 CE ISO certified viewing glasses on a first come, first served basis. There will be low-tech pinhole cameras as well as a variety of information activities and children’s crafts related to the eclipse. Viewing will take place on the pedestrian bridge outside the library.
All About Eclipse Glasses:
To safely view the eclipse you must have some sort of eye protection. Eclipse glasses have been flying off the shelves and most places around are out of stock. Here are a few places in our area that still have (or will be getting) glasses. Be sure to call and verify stock first.
- Ace Hardware Clinton, 929 N Charles G Seivers Blvd, Clinton / (865) 457-1478
- Elder’s Ace Hardware, 4219 Chapman Highway, Knoxville / (865) 409-0333
- Pendergrass Family Shoe Repair, 6707 Kingston Pike, Knoxville / (865) 588-0384
- Hallmark, West Town Mall, Knoxville / (865) 693-0582
- Lenscrafters, 11289 Parkside Drive, Knoxville / (865) 675-2420
- The Muse, 516 N Beaman Street, Knoxville / (865) 594-1494
- State Farm, 713 E. Emory Road Ste 101, Knoxville (865) 947-6560
Tips and Tricks:
With East Tennessee being in the path of totality we are expected to have LOTS of visitors to our area. That means traffic jams, waiting, and patience being tested. Here are some tips to ensure you are prepared and have an enjoyable eclipse experience.
- Do NOT park along interstates and roadways. TDOT is urging people not to pull over to watch the eclipse from the side of the road. This is very dangerous and can get you or someone else hurt.
- Allow plenty of travel time to your destination.
- Totality only lasts at maximum a little over two minutes. Most places will only get a minute or so of totality so don't waste it.
- Do NOT spend all your time photographing the eclipse. Many of us will get caught up trying to get the perfect pic, but a pic won't do it justice AT ALL! So don't waste all your time looking at a phone when you could be experiencing it in real life.
- Take chairs, snacks, and drinks.
- If you have kids going with you make sure they are prepared. Explain the importance of eye protection. Google ways to make your own eclipse viewers, activity pages, and coloring pages.
- Watch the weather and take appropriate clothing and sun protection.
- Be patient. Chances are you may get stuck in traffic so be prepared. Have the kids (and you too) use the bathroom before leaving. Take things to do in the car.
Links For More Eclipse Info and Cool Things:
Studio Shirts - Bring a shirt to make a cool eclipse tee