Where to watch

Four big cities to see the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse

From Nashville to Columbia, you can fly-in and fly-out of one of these cities for a quick eclipse fix

Why head for remote parts when you can watch the eclipse from one of the largest cities in the USA? Although most Total Solar Eclipses cross oceans and uninhabited areas, this particular eclipse is a massive exception, crossing hundreds and hundreds of inhabited towns right across the USA. However, if you live in the USA, but nowhere near the Path of Totality and want to fly in to view the eclipse – or you’re coming from abroad but only for a brief visit – there are some obvious candidate cities.
But do be careful; both Kansas City and St Louis are right on the limit the eclipse, only experiencing the wonder of Totality for a couple of seconds. If you fly-in to either of those, you’ll have to travel to see Totality, but only a short distance.

1 – Nashville, Tennessee

The capital of Tennessee, Nashville is all about music in all its guises – bluegrass, blues, gospel and rock, but mostly country music. From the Bluebird Cafe, Nashville’s legendary hangout for songwriters, to the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Nashville is pure Americana. While anywhere in Nashville will get you a Total Eclipse of the Sun for just under two minutes, there are 40 seconds more of precious Totality on offer to anyone who can drive north-east to Gallatin, or north-west to Springfield.

2 – Columbia, South Carolina

Together with Nashville, this is the biggest city within the eclipse track, and also the most accessible for anyone on the east coast. As such, Colombia in South Carolina is going to be perhaps the busiest place of all for Total Solar Eclipse 2017. However, it’s also probably going to be the most nervous location along the Eclipse track, with cloud and even tropical storms and hurricanes common during August. There is really no need to move once you’re within the city limits. The Riverbanks Zoo & Garden might be a good place to watch the eclipse’s effect on its 2,000 animals.

3 – Kansas City, Kansas

How about a Total Solar Eclipse in the in the heart of the Midwest? Technically, this city misses the eclipse, lying right on the southern border of the eclipse track. However, drive just 40 miles north and Totality increases from about 23 seconds to a whopping two minutes 40 seconds. Just across the state line, St Joseph is 45 miles north from Kansas City on Interstate 29, and well worth considering. There’s already a planned gathering for the public at St.JoMo’s Rosecrans Memorial Airport, where Front Page Science will be conducting a huge public observing event where you can experience 2 minutes and 39 seconds of totality, only 1 second short of the maximum time possible.

4 – St Louis, Missouri

Here’s another option in the Midwest, but you will have to drive south a few miles. A major port on the Mississippi River founded in 1764, St Louis is famous for its Gateway Arch that commemorates the settlement of America’s West, St Louis was many pioneers’ last stop before setting off for the frontier. The center of St Louis city sits just outside the center line of the eclipse track, so rather than risking a 99.4% eclipse – a miss really is as good as a mile when it comes to eclipses – get yourself to St. Clair, Missouri. Drive 52 miles south-west to St. Clair, which is precisely where Route 66 and the centerline of the Path of Totality intersect on what’s now called Interstate 44. Head down on the south side within the city limits near St. Clair High School; it seems there will be events planned.

Photo credit: www.visitkc.com