How Georgians can watch the rare total solar eclipse this Monday


How Georgians can watch the rare total solar eclipse this Monday

This story has been updated.

It’s the final countdown to the first total solar eclipse to cross the United States coast to coast in nearly 100 years.

This August, the sun, the moon and planet Earth will all align as Americans witness the country’s first total solar eclipse in 38 years.

The Aug. 21 eclipse, dubbed the Great American Eclipse by astronomers, will also mark the first time the phenomenon has occurred from coast-to-coast in nearly 100 years, giving spectators in Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia and South Carolina the chance to get a load of the eclipse in all of its totality.

According to NASA, the center-line path of totality — where the moon completely blocks the sun, the earth goes dark and the sun’s corona shimmers in the blackened sky — will stretch from Salem, Oregon, to Charleston, South Carolina, and will last up to 2 minutes and 41.6 seconds.

A screenshot of the Aug. 21, 2017, total solar eclipse path through the U.S. NASA, Google Maps

Spectators outside the center-line path will observe a two- to three-hour partial solar eclipse.

That includes residents in metro Atlanta, which is between 40-80 miles outside the center-line path. 

Find out what your sky will look like on Aug. 21 using the Google simulator or Vox eclipse tool, the latter of which will also tell you how far northeast you need to travel to see a total solar eclipse.

To help Georgians prepare for the monumental celestial spectacle expected to attract space junkies from all over the world, we’ve put together some of the best ways you can catch the can’t-miss marvel of the year.

Drive to Georgia’s best eclipse watch spots:

If you want to be within the centerline path of the total solar eclipse in Georgia, which only grazes the northeast corner of the state, your best bet is to make your way to Rabun County, about two hours north of metro Atlanta.

There, the total solar eclipse will begin at 2:35 p.m. and last for 2 minutes and 40 seconds.

Rabun County is also hosting an array of events to commemorate the rare eclipse, the AJC previously reported. Some events include bluegrass at Tallulah Falls, a golf tournament at Sky Valley Country Club, a lecture series with astronomers and a 5K run.

On Aug. 21, spectators can join Georgia State University astronomers in the OutASight Total Solar Eclipse Viewing Party, where jumbotrons linked to NASA will help guide the event.

All the Georgia cities where you’ll be able to see a total eclipse

1. Baldwin

2. Clayton

3. Gumlog

4. McCaysville

7. Cleveland

8. Hartwell

9. Morganton

10. Tiger

11. Blue Ridge

12. Cornelia

13. Helen

14. Rabun Gap

15. Toccoa

16. Carnesville

17. Demorest

18. Hiawassee

19. Royston 

20. Clarkesville

21. Dillard

Events at Georgia state parks

Tallulah Falls at Tallulah Gorge State Park. Georgia Department of Economic D

State parks all over Georgia are hosting watch parties and other events for the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21. 

Here’s a list of participating parks and their events from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources:  

Best road trips from Georgia

According to, there are ten prime hotspots within the centerline path of the total solar eclipse.

Three of the areas could make for an easy summer day trip from Atlanta.

1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Drive time from Atlanta: 3-3.5 hours

Time of eclipse: 2:35 p.m.

Totality time: 1 minute, 17 seconds

According to the official Smoky Mountains National Park page, tickets for viewing from the Clingmans Dome are sold out, but sites like Cable Mill (Cades Cove) and Oconaluftee Visitor Center will be first-come first-serve until parking becomes full or roads become congested.

“Visitors may view the eclipse from other areas of the park on your own, though due to the influx of eclipse viewers during the already-busy season, the Park Service may need to close certain areas on August 21st to reduce gridlock, which may include Newfound Gap Road and Cades Cove,” the website states.

2. Columbia, South Carolina

Drive time from Atlanta: 3-4 hours

Time of eclipse: 2:43 p.m.

Totality time: 2 minutes, 30 seconds

Home to the longest total solar eclipse time (for a metro area) on the eastern coast, Columbia, South Carolina, is hosting more than 100 eclipse-related events between Aug. 18 and Aug. 21.

3. Nashville, Tennessee

Drive time from Atlanta: 3.5-4.5 hours

Time of eclipse: 1:27 p.m.

Totality time: 1 minute, 57 seconds

Music City is one of the largest cities in the eclipse’s path and it’s planning several events for the celestial event. Some public viewing locations in Nashville, Tennessee, include First Tennessee Park, Adventure Science Center and AJ’s Good Time Bar.

For more viewing locations and information about events, visit the official Music City eclipse site.

Watch NASA’s livestream right from your couch

Can’t make it out for the total solar eclipse? No worries, because NASA is live streaming the entire event from 100,000 feet in the air.

According to the Huffington Post, 57 cameras attached to 57 balloons will be launched in space along 40 North American locations, offering one-of-a-kind celestial views of the mega phenomenon for four hours.

The Megacast will be broadcast to the world on NASA TV, UStream and YouTube and will be picked up by many local and national TV stations.

While there are a variety of excellent viewpoints for you to catch the celestial event in all its glory, it all comes down to where you’ll find the clearest skies on Monday, Aug. 21, according to

To help, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration developed a nifty map of predicted cloudiness on the day of the eclipse based on historical data.

The darker the dot, the greater the chance for cloudiness at the hour of peak viewing during the total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017. Dots represent automated weather stations that reported the cloudiness data and show the 10-year cloudiness average for August 21, 2001–2010. Credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Map developed by CICS-NC in cooperation with NOAA NCEI, Deborah Riddle.

If you plan on observing the eclipse in person, be sure to follow all safety guidelines.

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