2017 Total Solar Eclipse
A solar eclipse is one of nature’s grandest spectacles. By following these simple rules, you can safely enjoy the view and be rewarded with memories to last a lifetime.
Countdown Until The Great American Solar Eclipse
Jackson County, North Carolina, is one of the few areas in North Carolina where visitors and residents can experience this year’s extremely rare celestial phenomenon, a total solar eclipse. All of the county’s towns, including Sylva, Dillsboro, Cullowhee and Cashiers, are in the direct path of The Great American Solar Eclipse. At 2:35 p.m. on August 21, 2017, the towns will have a stellar view of one of nature’s most visual displays followed by a couple minutes of complete darkness.
For cities inside the 70-mile-wide path of the solar eclipse, the sky will turn pitch black, the air will cool, and stars will be visible in the middle of the day. This is the first time in 26 years that America has seen a total solar eclipse, and it is one of the few that will sweep the nation from Atlantic to Pacific coasts. (View 2017 Total Solar Eclipse in the U.S.)
The times of total darkness for Jackson County cities are as follows:
- Sylva: 1 minute, 45 seconds
- Dillsboro: 1 minute, 50 seconds
- Cashiers: 2 minutes, 23 seconds
It’s easier than you think to get to Jackson County, NC. Visit our Getting Here page for more information.
Cashiers Eclipse Festival
In Cashiers, The Village Green hosts a day of festivities and solar eclipse viewing “Eclipse Festival” on August 21 to celebrate the Great American Solar Eclipse.
Downtown Sylva Eclipse Festival
Downtown Sylva is proud to host several activities and events to celebrate the Great American Solar Eclipse throughout the weekend of August 18-21.
Viewing Locations & Parking
- Plan ahead if you want to view the total eclipse. Know where you want to be and make arrangements for accommodations as soon as possible.
- Expect higher traffic volumes beforehand. Large crowds will gather in the seven North Carolina counties in the path of totality. There will be many travelers on the state’s highway system headed to South Carolina.
- Get to your viewing location well in advance of the eclipse.
- NCDOT will suspend most road construction projects and lane closures beginning Aug. 19 through Aug. 22.
- Watch out for pedestrians on secondary roads and city streets. People may be randomly parking and walking along roadsides as they search for a viewing spot.
- Watch out for distracted drivers around you.
- Do not try to view the eclipse or take photographs while driving.
- Turn on your headlights if driving during the eclipse. Even in partial totality, it will become dark outside.
- Do not stop along the interstate or park on the shoulder to view the eclipse. Exit the roadway and park in a safe spot.
- Do not wear eclipse glasses while driving.
- Most people viewing the eclipse will try to depart for home immediately afterward, much like the end of a sporting event or concert.
- Motorists – especially in the westernmost counties – should expect heavy traffic congestion following the eclipse.
- Drivers may want to detour or postpone a trip immediately following the eclipse.
- Expect extra congestion on interstates and other primary routes on the day of and the day after the eclipse.
- Get real-time traffic updates at DriveNC.gov or dial 511.
Real Time Traffic Information
Get real time information on events that cause severe and unusual congestion on NCDOT maintained roadways in North Carolina.
Solar Eclipse Tips & Facts
Don’t Look Directly at the Sun
Looking directly at the Sun is unsafe except during the brief total phase of a solar eclipse (“totality”), when the Moon entirely blocks the Sun’s bright face, which will happen only within the narrow path of totality
The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed Sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as “eclipse glasses” (example shown at left) or hand-held solar viewers. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the Sun. To date, four manufacturers have certified that their eclipse glasses and hand-held solar viewers meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard for such products: Rainbow Symphony, American Paper Optics, Thousand Oaks Optical, and TSE 17.
The Path of Totality
If you are within the path of totality, remove your solar filter only when the Moon completely covers the Sun’s bright face and it suddenly gets quite dark. Experience totality, then, as soon as the bright Sun begins to reappear, replace your solar viewer to glance at the remaining partial phases.
Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed Sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device. Similarly, do not look at the Sun through a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewer — the concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eye(s), causing serious injury. Seek expert advice from an astronomer before using a solar filter with a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device.
Map courtesy of GreatAmericanEclipse.com
An alternative method for safe viewing of the partially eclipsed Sun is pinhole projection. For example, cross the outstretched, slightly open fingers of one hand over the outstretched, slightly open fingers of the other. With your back to the Sun, look at your hands’ shadow on the ground. The little spaces between your fingers will project a grid of small images on the ground, showing the Sun as a crescent during the partial phases of the eclipse.
Photo Credit: Mark Margolis
Visitor Bucket List
- Attend the Eclipse Festival Saturday night at Bridge Park in Sylva; and the Eclipse Festival at the Village Green in Cashiers on Monday.
- Visit one or all of our breweries in Jackson County; Innovation Brewing or The Sneak E Squirrel. Balsam Falls Brewing will open this summer adding the third brewery to the Jackson County Ale Trail.
- Cool off and enjoy some sun and water at Lake Glenville.
- Take a selfie family photo during your trip and/or of your view of the eclipse. Mention @NCEclipse on Twitter or #PlayOnNC / @DiscoverJacksonNC on Instagram and we will share the best ones!
- Visit the highest point in the Blue Ridge Parkway- Richland Balsam (elevation: 6,053 feet).
- Float down the Tuckasegee River or bring your rod and fly fish the WNC Fly Fishing Trail. (www.flyfishingtrail.com)
- Race in the 2-mile Moonlight Madness run on Sunday night at the Jackson County Parks and Recreation Center in Cullowhee.
- Attend a panel discussion with astronomers and scientists at Southwestern Community College on Sunday at 6:00 PM.
10 facts about the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse
- The total solar eclipse 2017 has been coined “The Great American Solar Eclipse” because it is the only solar eclipse to appear across the entire continent of North America in recent history.
- A solar eclipse happens when the Moon, in the “new moon phase” passes between Earth and the Sun.
- The last solar eclipse viewable here was July 20, 1506. The next total solar eclipse to pass through our area won’t be until October 17, 2153.
- During an eclipse, air temperatures can drop from 5 to 20 degrees.
- Looking directly at the sun can cause damage to your eyes including total blindness, so all viewers must wear protective eclipse glasses.
- After a total solar eclipse, it takes about an hour before total daylight is restored.
- The sun’s corona can only be seen during a total solar eclipse. The corona is the outer part of the sun’s atmosphere of glowing gases.
- The moon’s shadow zooms across Earth’s surface at up to 3,000 miles per hour.
- When peak totality occurs 2:35 p.m., you can look at the sun/moon with no eyewear. Be sure to check with local Eclipse Ambassadors as to whether totality has actually begun!
- Bright stars and planets will become more visible during the solar eclipse.
Photo Credit: NASA
Visitor Tips for the Solar Eclipse Weekend
- Allow an extra day for travel coming to Jackson County. Trying to arrive the day of the eclipse may result in you being stuck in traffic during the eclipse! Thousands of cars are predicted to be traveling on Monday, so come up a day early and enjoy the mountains, our trails, waterfalls, breweries, restaurants and shops.
- Keep an eye on @NCEclipse on Twitter for event and public safety updates.
- Book your lodging early. Properties are expected to fill up well in advance of the event. View lodging options at www.DiscoverJacksonNC.com/lodging.
Where to find Solar Eclipse Glasses in Jackson County?
Check the latest availability