Did you know that Middle Tennessee is in the direct viewing path of a total solar eclipse this year on August 21? The last time there was a total solar eclipse in North America was in 1979, and the last time one had a coast to coast path was 1918. This Solar eclipse is going to be a big deal!
A little background information first. A solar eclipse becomes visible on earth, when the moon passes between the earth and the sun. The moon blocks out the light that normally reaches the surface of the earth creating the solar eclipse.
How to See the Solar Eclipse in Tennessee
The best viewing areas, for Tennessee, will be in Middle Tennessee. Stretching from Clarksville, through Nashville, Lebanon, and Murfreesboro heading southeast through the state. Many of these cities will be hosting special events. Nashville, Clarksville, Lebanon, and Murfreesboro City Parks will all have great viewing areas.
How to Safely View
First thing, DO NOT try to view a partial solar eclipse or partial or annular phases of a total eclipse with the naked eye. The only time it is considered safe to view an eclipse without eye protection is during the brief moment of totality when the moon completely blocks the sun. Viewing a solar eclipse without proper eye protection may result in permanent eye damage or blindness. For more information about safe viewing check out NASA or AAS’s websites.
The cheapest way to see the effects of a solar eclipse safely is a pinhole viewer. These can be made at home from simple supplies you likely already have: cardboard, duct tape, aluminum foil, and white paper.
Another inexpensive method is to purchase glasses designed specifically for viewing solar eclipses. If you decide to do this make certain that the glasses meet the safety requirements for viewing the sun directly.
If you are looking for something a little more robust, they also make Plastic Eclipse Glasses with a wrap around frame. These fit a little closer to your face, and may provide a little more protection from accidental exposure to the direct sunlight.
Solar Eclipse Events
Adventure Science Center
The Adventure Science Center will be hosting Music City Solar Eclipse. The Music City Solar Eclipse Festival will feature explorations into science and technology,activities local organizations, local musicians, great prizes, and local food trucks. The festival will all lead up to an incredible Viewing Party at the science center. Visit the Eclipse Festival section of their website for more details and to purchase tickets.
Stones River National Battlefield
For the two days before the eclipse, Stones River National Battlefield will be presenting a Solar Science program. This event will have hands-on activities from 10 AM through 3 PM. Activities may include: Make Your Own Eclipse Viewer (Bring Your Own Cereal Box), Make Your Own Eclipse Art
and Make Your Own Sundial. On the Day of the eclipse there will also be a viewing event at the Battlefield on August 21.
Nashville Hiking Meetup
Nashville hiking meetup is planning a hike, camp, and paddle event in Gallatin and Castilian Springs. Paddling along Bledsoe Creek During the eclipse will be an amazing way to see it. For more details see the event page.
Middle Tennessee State University
MTSU will be hosting viewing events on campus for this rare event. This is one of the rarest scientific events of the last 600 years! MTSU will be providing lots of educational programing as well as a stellar party for the whole family. For more information about on campus activities, see the website: http://mtsu.edu/eclipse/
Upper Cumberland Regional Airport
The Upper Cumberland Regional Airport will be hosting a viewing party at the airport in Sparta. Admission is free, but ramp space is limited. THe open space will provide an incredible view of the sky. See the Event page for more details : Upper Cumberland Regional Airport
Short Mountain Distillery
Located in Woodbury, TN, Short Mountain is right in the path of totality. They will be partnering with Zilla BBQ to have a special event at their location. They will have a viewing party, BBQ lunch, themed cocktails, and a gorgeous setting to take it all in. Check out their page for more information about the Solar Eclipse “Bar-BQ” at Short Mountain Distillery.
Music City’s Total Eclipse of the Park
Nashville’s First Tennessee Park will also be holding an event . This is a collaboration of the Nashville Sounds, Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, Metro Government, the Metro Sports Authority, and the Adventure Science Center. The event will include music from members of the Nashville Symphony, science demonstrations with activities from the Adventure Science Center, total solar eclipse viewing, and a separate Sounds baseball game to follow at 4:05 p.m. Get more information at the Facebook event page: Music City’s Total Eclipse of the Park.
Cheekwood Botanical Gardens
Cheekwood is one of the prettiest places in Nashville. It will be an amazing place to view the eclipse. Although they are normally closed to the public on Mondays, Cheekwood will open its doors for this remarkable event. Cheekwood’s eclipse celebration will feature live music, food trucks, and cash bars forthe viewing. For more information visit Cheekwood’s website.
The Historic Home of President Andrew Jackson will host a free Solar Eclipse Tailgate on the grounds. Visitors are encouraged to load up their vehicles and park in the large fields in front of The Hermitage’s entrance gate. These fields will be prime viewing spots for the eclipse. In addition to your viewing spot, there will be a great childrens area set up! Get more information here: Solar Eclipse Tailgate at The Hermitage.
Tennessee State Parks
If for some reason you can’t see this eclipse, the next one in America will be April 8, 2024. Unfortunately, the Path of Totality will not pass through Tennessee. You will have to travel to see it. The next one that actually passes over Nashville will be around 500 years from now, so don’t wait around on that.