Smokies park plans solar eclipse viewing at Clingmans Dome

Where will you be on August 21, 2017 when the solar eclipse casts its shadow across the United States? At Great Smoky Mountains National Park, officials are planning a party to help you both view and understand the science of the eclipse.

The park is offering an opportunity to experience the total eclipse through a special, ticketed event at Clingmans Dome as well as informal eclipse viewing sites at Cades Cove and Oconaluftee. The park is partnering with NASA, Southwestern Community College, and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to provide a special program with featured speakers and storytellers that help explain the science and cultural connection to this unique natural event at Clingmans Dome.

At 6,643 feet in elevation, Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the park and offers the unique possibility of seeing the moon’s shadow approaching across the landscape. The area will be closed to all public vehicle traffic to better accommodate a safe, memorable experience for about 1,325 ticketed participants. 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 stage for special featured speakers.

Beginning on March 1, 2017, tickets will be available for purchase on a first come first serve basis through www.recreation.gov for $30 each. You must have a ticket to attend the event at Clingmans Dome. Participants will be shuttled to the site from Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and Cherokee, North Carolina, by coach bus. The Clingmans Dome tower itself will be reserved for the media and live broadcasting teams to share the experience with the widest audience possible. Special presentations and activities will take place during the approximately three-hour period in the afternoon when the sun will be partially and, for a brief time, totally obscured by the moon.

 

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