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Eclipse guide for the Asheville area

Asheville's not in the path of totality. If you want to see a total solar eclipse you'll have to head west, closer to Sylva, Cullowhee, and Brevard. (Photo credit: NASA)

Are you planning on watching the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse that will be visible from western NC?

It's a rare occurrence that will let people in the path of totality see the sun's corona with the naked eye. Locally, it will start at about 1 p.m., reach totality around 2:30, and be done around 4 p.m.

Asheville's not in the path of totality. If you want to see a total solar eclipse you'll have to head west, closer to Sylva, Cullowhee, and Brevard.

Check out a map that shows the path of totality here.

Totality is passing through the following N.C. cities and areas, according to eclipse2017.org:

  • Andrews
  • Brevard
  • Bryson City
  • Cashiers
  • Chatuge Lake
  • Cullowhee
  • Dillsboro
  • Fontana Lake
  • Franklin
  • Hayesville
  • Highlands
  • Hiwassee Lake
  • Lake Santeetlah
  • Maggie Valley
  • Murphy
  • Robbinsville
  • Rosman
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Sylva
  • Webster

Totality will pass across the western portion of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Andrews, N.C. will see the sun fully eclipsed by the moon for the longest of any N.C. city: two minutes and 39 seconds.

If you want to drive out of town to see the eclipse (totality is a relatively short drive from Asheville, 1-2 hours depending on where you go), keep two things in mind: hotels and other overnight rentals are already selling out in some areas along the path of totality, and if the weather is cloudy, you might need to drive to another location to see the eclipse clearly. You might also want to prepare for congestion and traffic, as others head out to see the eclipse.

A local astronomy teacher created a video guide to picking the best place to watch the eclipse. Check it out here (if you're viewing on a cellphone, click here):

One more tip: The eclipse is on a Monday, so be sure to take the day off!

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