Mark your calendars: August 2017 will feature 'Great American Ec - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Mark your calendars: August 2017 will feature 'Great American Eclipse'

Path of total solar eclipse for Aug. 21, 2017. (Source: TimeandDate.com) Path of total solar eclipse for Aug. 21, 2017. (Source: TimeandDate.com)
Tennessee map with path of total solar eclipse. (Source: Google Maps) Tennessee map with path of total solar eclipse. (Source: Google Maps)
NORTH ALABAMA (WAFF) -

It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for the entire lower 48 of the United States to see a total solar eclipse, and we have a nearly front-row seat for the event in the Tennessee Valley on August 21, 2017.

A 67-mile wide path carved out from Oregon to South Carolina will be the prime viewing location for this event. According to NASA, this is the first time there will have been a full sweep of the United States of a total solar eclipse since 1918.

A solar eclipse is when the moon’s orbit crosses between the Sun and Earth.

In October 2014, we had a nice showing of a partial solar eclipse, where the moon covered about 10 percent of the sun’s diameter.

For the “Great American Eclipse,” the Tennessee Valley will be able to see 96 percent disk coverage from the moon.

Though still an amazing sight to see, many say seeing the sun being fully covered by the moon is well worth a short drive to see.

In Tennessee, the central part of the state -- including cities like Nashville, Murfreesboro, Cookeville, Crossville, Athens, and Loudon -- will see the moon cover the sun fully for about two and a half minutes. Chattanooga and Knoxville will offer great partial views, but are just outside of the path of totality.

View an interactive map here.

If you plan on staying in North Alabama, the partial eclipse will begin around noon; the maximum eclipse will be around 1:30 p.m. and the event will conclude just before 3:00 p.m.

The next time we will have a chance to see a total eclipse in Alabama, albeit the southern half of the state, in totality, will be August 2045.

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