By now you’ve probably heard about the 2017 solar eclipse occurring on August 21. It’s a pretty big deal considering it is the United States’ first solar eclipse in 38 years.
The eclipse is only viewable along a narrow path that traverses the United States, so only a handful of states will have locations where the eclipse can be seen in totality (total obstruction, darkness, lights out).
If you’re planning to visit White Oak Lodge and Resort on August 21, you’re in luck. Parts of the Great Smoky Mountains fall within the path, which will pass very close to Gatlinburg.
There will be special events and viewing sites at Clingman’s Dome and Cade’s Cove, which are directly in the path of the eclipse.
Clingman’s Dome is a ticketed event, and tickets are currently on sale for $30.
Clingman’s Dome is the highest point in the park at 6,643 ft. The area will be closed to all vehicle traffic to better accommodate a safe, memorable experience. The parking area will be converted into the special event site that will include a jumbotron screen for participating in a national NASA TV broadcast, telescopes, educational exhibits, and a stage for special featured speakers.
Participants will be shuttled to the site from Gatlinburg by coach bus. The Clingmans Dome tower itself will be reserved for the media and live broadcasting teams.
The special program will feature speakers and storytellers from Southwestern Community College and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to help explain the science and cultural connection to this unique natural event.
There will also be informal staff- guided eclipse viewing sites at Cable Mill (Cades Cove) and the Oconaluftee Visitor Center. These are free events.
Tennessee seems to be the place to be. According to an article from cs.astronomy.com, only one large city of those on the path has a great view (more than two minutes of totality), and that’s Nashville.
Enthusiasts who like to really get into the technical details of where, when and what for this event can learn more using Xavier Jubier’s Total Eclipse Interactive Google Map.
More helpful information about the eclipse in the Great Smoky Mountains can be found here.
It doesn’t get much better than enjoying the eclipse while on a great Gatlinburg vacation. If you weren’t planning to be at White Oak Lodge and Resort August 21, there may still be time to book your stay.
COMMENT: Will you be watching the eclipse? Where will you watch it?