Where will you be when the 2017 solar eclipse takes place? If your answer is Northeast Tennessee, you’re in luck because there are several events throughout the region leading up to and during the August 21 event dedicated to the skies. Even though Northeast Tennessee will not host a total eclipse, depending on where you are, the moon will block light from the sun up to 98%. A total solar eclipse happens roughly about once every century, so chances are, you won’t witness one again.
What will happen? The sun disappear behind the moon, turning daylight into twilight, causing the temperature to drop rapidly and revealing massive streamers of light streaking through the sky around the silhouette of the moon.
Do I need glasses? Yes! Protective shades make it possible for observers to look directly at the sun before and after the eclipse, which could be very dangerous without approved eye wear. Luckily, several of the events listed below will be handing out limited numbers of eclipse glasses.
Where should I go? There are numerous public events throughout Northeast Tennessee that will be held in the days leading up to the eclipse, as well as during the event.
Here are a few of our favorites:
Now through August 20
Totality at Bays Mountain Park Planetarium: Totality is a fascinating look at all the wonders of eclipses, especially total solar eclipses. An eclipse is described simply as when one celestial object blocks another from our view. This program, produced by Bays Mountain Planetarium, examines what eclipses are, how and when they occur, and what wonderful sights they create. A very special part of the show relates, in a very human way, what happens when you are caught in the shadow of the Moon and the Sun is plunged into a total solar eclipse. The show runs 35 minutes and is offered daily.
Roan Mountain State Park: Interpretive rangers will educate guests about the upcoming eclipse. Program starts at 11:30 a.m. at the Camp Store.
Solar Eclipse of the Park: Meet the Elizabethton Library staff at the Elizabethton Twins field between 5 and 8 p.m. to get viewing glasses the day prior to the main event. This event is in conjunction with the Elizabethton Twins baseball game.
10 a.m. – Boots Off Campground and Hostel: Watch the Eclipse and have some fun paddling on Watauga Lake, with views of the mountains all around, followed by great food, good company and top it all off with a large bonfire. “The plan is for everyone to meet up at Boots Off by 10 a.m., August 21, to organize and meet one another, then leave to launch at Rat Branch Boat Ramp (5 min drive) and be on the water no later than noon,” said Jim Gregory, Boots Off owner. “This will allow ourselves time to paddle out and get a good spot on the lake, maybe to one of the islands, which will provide us with some of the best viewing of the eclipse. Plan to be on the water during the entire event, which will take approximately 3 hours.” Anyone is welcome to join the group. Equipment rental is $30 per person, which includes transporting the paddlecraft to and from Rat Branch Boat Ramp, includes all necessary safety equipment for the water, and includes eclipse viewing glasses at no additional charge. The group will return to Boots Off Hostel & Campground after the eclipse paddle for some food and fun. Please call or text 239-218-3904 for more information and to book an overnight stay.
Noon – Bristol Public Library will host a free live stream event of the solar eclipse August 21st at 12 pm. The library will offer a program rain or shine.
Noon to 4 p.m. – Sycamore Shoals State Park: First 125 people to show up will get a pair of viewing glasses. Learn what our ancestors in the 18th Century thought about eclipses and how they work. You may also be surprised to learn about the Moon Tree planted at Fort Watauga. Check more out about the tree here.
1 to 5 p.m. – Corey Ippolito Winery will offer wine tastings for $5 complete with a wine glass, and solar glasses for the first 100 guests. PureWood Foodbrick Oven food truck will also be on site.
1 to 4 p.m. – Jonesborough Eclipse Block Party: Come experience the “Great American Solar Eclipse” in Downtown Jonesborough with a celestial-themed event including educational activities, yoga, crafts and live music during the span of the eclipse.
We hope you have a fun and safe solar eclipse viewing experience. If you would like to add an event to the Northeast Tennessee Solar Eclipse list, email email@example.com.