Solar eclipse viewing at the Smokies

Partial Solar eclipse

GATLINBURG, Tenn.—On Monday, April 8, a total solar eclipse will be visible across a swath of the United States stretching from Texas to Maine. Great Smoky Mountains National Park lies outside the path of totality but will experience an 86 to 87% obstruction of the sun during the event.

A total eclipse is a lineup of the sun, the moon, and Earth. The moon will be directly between the sun and Earth, casting a shadow on Earth. A total eclipse occurs when the moon covers the entirety of the sun except for the corona, or sun’s atmosphere. In the Smokies, viewers will experience a partial eclipse, when the moon only partially blocks the sun. In the national park, the moon will begin its intersection of the sun’s orbit at 1:49 p.m., the obstruction will reach its maximum extent at 3:08 p.m., and the event will conclude at 4:23 p.m. 

Viewing a solar eclipse without proper eye protection is dangerous and can result in long-term vision impairment or blindness. Regular sunglasses—no matter how dark—are not safe for viewing the eclipse. To ensure safe viewing, park staff will make available one free pair of glasses per family/group at the viewing locations listed below while supplies last. If visitors wish to have enough glasses for everyone in their group to view the eclipse at the same time, they will need to bring eclipse glasses along or purchase them. The park’s retail partner Smokies Life will have solar eclipse available for sale ($1.50 each) at park store locations.

Park staff and volunteers will be available to provide eclipse information and safe, facilitated viewing at the following locations from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.:

  • Newfound Gap parking lot
  • Various locations around Cades Cove Loop Road, including near the John Oliver Cabin and at the Cades Cove Overlook
  • Outside the Oconaluftee Visitor Center

A Junior Ranger Eclipse Explorer activity book will be available for free at the above locations for anyone who wants to earn a Junior Ranger Eclipse Explorer badge.

The most recent total solar eclipse visible from the United States took place on October 14, 2023, and the next one will occur in 2044.

About Brad Jones

Brad is the Owner/Operator of BBB TV 12, and has been with the company since August of 1996. Brad is a 1987 graduate of Coalfield High School and a 1995 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Communications. He won the 1995 broadcast production student of the year award. Brad worked at Shop at Home, Inc. a home shopping network that was located in Knoxville, TN from 1993 - 1995 and then at Via TV (RSTV, Inc.) from 1995 - 1996. After some freelance work in Nashville, Brad joined the BBB Communications staff in August of 1996. A short stint at WVLT TV as a news photographer was in 2001, but he continued to work at BBB TV as well. Brad is married to Nicole Jenkins Jones, a 1990 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, who works at Oak Ridge Gastroenterology and Associates in Oak Ridge. They have 3 kids, Trevor Bogard, 27, Chandler 22, and Naomi 13. On December 12, 2013 they welcomed their first grandchild, Carter Ryan Bogard. Brad is also the assistant boys basketball coach at Coalfield High School for the past 11 years. In 2013-14 the Yellow Jackets won their first district title since 1991 and just the 4th in school history.

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