Solar Eclipse 2017
On Aug. 21, the United States will experience “The Great American Eclipse” — an event nearly a century in the making. As the first total solar eclipse to cross the entire country since 1918, this will be a once-in-a-lifetime celestial spectacle. Those within the 70-mile-wide line of totality, which starts in Oregon and ends in South Carolina, will get to witness up to 2 minutes, 40 seconds of darkness.
In this series, we’ll spotlight a few of the best viewing locations along the path, including Idaho Falls, ID, Casper, WY, Nashville, TN and Greenville, SC. Whether you travel to your preferred city the weekend before or turn the trip into a weeklong summer vacation, you’ll find no shortage of things to do in each locale.
Viewing Location Spotlight: Casper, WY
One of the best viewing areas along the path is in Casper, WY. Fly into Denver, CO, where you can pick up a vehicle from Advantage Rent A Car and set out for an unforgettable family adventure in the Cowboy State.
Less than four hours north of Denver International Airport, Casper is situated at an altitude of more than 5,000 feet. With a high probability of clear skies and 2 minutes, 26 seconds of totality, the town should be one of the best spots in the nation to view the eclipse. Good spots include the Central Wyoming Fairgrounds, Casper Events Center and Hogadon Ski Area. Try not to stop by the side of the road. Too many stopped vehicles could create a hazard for non-eclipse traffic.
Leading up to the big event, Casper is hosting the Wyoming Eclipse Festival, a weeklong schedule of special activities and programs that include covered wagon train treks and Pony Express rides, behind-the-scenes distillery tours, Insane Inflatable 5K, Riverfest and the Great Duck Derby, among other activities.
Whether you choose to explore the area ahead of time or stay and play after the eclipse, Casper offers plenty of fun outdoor activities. Take a scenic drive up Casper Mountain or hike to Garden Creek Falls and the 4.5-mile Bridle Trail in Rotary Park. Take a boat ride, mountain bike or rock climb through Fremont Canyon. Reel in monster brown trout out of the North Platte River, whose “Miracle Mile” — which is actually a 5.5-mile stretch — is swimming with about 4,000 fish per mile. Better yet, toss an inner tube into the river, sit back, relax and just float.
Since Casper’s wildlife lives among the people, you’re likely to spot pronghorn antelope — which outnumber the town’s human population — or one of the many other natives in the area, such as mule deer and wild turkeys.
Casper has plenty of indoor activities, too. The kids can interact with dinosaurs at the Tate Museum, check out the exhibits and critters at The Science Zone, explore the night sky at the Casper Planetarium, learn about Wyoming’s indigenous wildlife at the Werner Wildlife Museum or create their own masterpiece at the hands-on art studio in the Nicolaysen Art Museum & Discovery Center. The best part? All of these attractions offer free or low-cost admission!
No matter how long you’re in Casper, the Cowboy State is sure to wrangle your heart and provide family memories that will last a lifetime.
- A solar eclipse occurs when the sun, moon and Earth are in exact alignment.
- The year the last total solar eclipse was visible in the United States was 1979 — in just five states. The total solar eclipse of 2017 will pass through 12 states, from coast to coast.
- The sun and moon appear to be the same size during a total solar eclipse, but this is an illusion. The sun is 400 times wider than the moon and 400 times
- The faint light that appears around the moon during a total solar eclipse is part of the sun’s outermost atmosphere, called the corona.
- Wildlife can be confused by totality. As the sky grows dark and resembles twilight, you may hear roosters crowing and grasshoppers chirping.