National parks plan for solar eclipse | Outdoors

America’s national parks will be premiere viewing sites for one of nature’s amazing natural phenomena, as a total solar eclipse crosses the continental United States on Aug. 21.

The next solar eclipse visible from the continental United States will be April 8, 2024.

There are 21 parks and seven trails of the National Park System that are within the 60- to 70-mile-wide total eclipse pathway. Eclipse watchers within the pathway will experience “totality,” a 2-plus-minute period of nearly complete darkness in the middle of the day.

Voyageurs National Park is expected to experience 80-percent of the sun blocked by the moon on that day. A program is planned for 12:30 p.m. Aug. 21 at Kabetogama Lake.

The 2017 eclipse is the first total solar eclipse visible in the continental United States since February 26, 1979. The last eclipse to traverse from coast to coast was June 8, 1918. On Aug. 21 the moon’s shadow will race across the land, crossing from the Oregon coast to the point where South Carolina meets the Atlantic Ocean in just one and a half hours.

Throughout the continental United States, people outside the path of totality will witness a partial eclipse, as the shadow of the moon covers or eclipses some portion of the sun. Depending on location and sky conditions, viewers across the country outside the path of totality may see 60 percent to 90 percent or more of the sun eclipsed.

The complete eclipse event will last about three hours from the time the leading edge of the shadow arrives until its trailing edge is gone. During that time, natural sunlight will be disrupted as the moon moves directly between the sun and Earth, casting its shadow on the ground below. At the central point of the eclipse, the moon will completely block the sun, causing “totality” for up to 2 minutes and 40 seconds of total darkness. A map showing the path of the total eclipse and a list of parks within the path is available on the National Park Service’s website.

Several national parks will stream live video during the eclipse. Those viewing opportunities will be listed on the NPS 2017 Eclipse webpage.

The National Park Service is also encouraging visitors to prepare to have a safe viewing opportunity during the eclipse. Looking at the sun directly, even just the sliver of sun visible before the total eclipse, can cause permanent eye…

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