Eclipse-mania is sweeping the United States. From Oregon to South Carolina, 14 states will experience a total solar eclipse on Aug. 21. It will be the first event of its kind in the continental U.S. since 1979.
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth, fully or partially blocking the sun. During the duration of the over two-hour eclipse, observers should not look directly at the sun without appropriate protection — except during eclipse totality, when the moon fully blocks the sun. Eclipse totality will last approximately two minutes.
While partial eclipse will be visible in other countries, eclipse totality will span only the continental U.S.
24/7 Wall St. has compiled a list of the 15 cities and towns with 50,000 people or more in the approximately 60-to-70 mile-wide prime viewing area of the total eclipse.
In the geographical regions that will experience the singular astronomical event, airlines, hotels, colleges, and entrepreneurs are looking to cash in during a time of year when business is usually slow and college students have not yet returned from summer vacation.
Eclipse chasers are paying $1,000 for a round-trip ticket to Nashville from New York. Nashville is the largest city within the path of eclipse totality. To mark the occasion, Nashville, also known as Music City, has posted an eclipse-themed playlist on its site for visitors.
In college towns such as Corvallis, Oregon; Columbia, Missouri; and Murfreesboro, Tennessee, campuses were offering vacant dormitory rooms for visitors and scheduled lectures about the celestial event.
Entrepreneurs in Lincoln, Nebraska, are selling a commemorative T-shirt showing the nation’s 16th president with an image of the eclipse affixed to his trademark stovepipe hat.
If you aren’t lucky enough to experience the total solar eclipse on Monday, fear not. The next one will occur on April 8, 2024, and will cross through 13 states (Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine).
24/7 Wall St. determined the 15 largest cities and towns in the path of totality, documented by NASA, which is the swath of the United States where the total solar eclipse can be viewed. The cities and towns selected all have more than 50,000 people and were chosen because they have the transportation and hospitality infrastructure to accommodate an influx of visitors. Major cities such as Chattanooga and Knoxville in Tennessee and St. Louis were just outside the path of eclipse totality and did not make this list.