A total eclipse of the sun will occur in the region the afternoon of Monday, Aug. 21, and 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 to help explain the scientific and cultural connections to this unique event. The ticketed event will occur at Clingmans Dome with informal viewing sites offered as well at Cades Cove and Oconaluftee.
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 approach across the landscape. The area will be closed to public traffic with about 1,325 tickets offered. The parking area will be converted to a special event site that includes a jumbotron screen for a national NASA TV broadcast, telescopes, educational exhibits and a stage for featured speakers.
“We are thrilled that the park lies within the narrow viewing band of this spectacular, natural phenomena,” said Deputy Superintendent Clay Jordan. “I have great memories of the time I experienced a partial solar eclipse as a child and I am thrilled to view my first total eclipse from the top of the Smokies in the company of a passionate group of visitors.”
Participants will be shuttled to the site from Gatlinburg and Cherokee 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.
Buy tickets at www.recreation.gov.