Durham County

Total eclipse of the sun? Here’s a look at the best places to watch on August 21

The best North Carolina spots to see the total solar eclipse August 21 will be in western North Carolina, which lies in the path of the total eclipse. But the Triangle also will have several eclipse watches.

Morehead Planetarium’s watch times inside the facility are sold out. Viewers can still take advantage of Morehead’s free, public viewing of the eclipse, at the sundial in front of the planetarium, from noon to 4:30 p.m.

In Durham, the Sarah P. Duke Gardens will have an eclipse party from noon to 5 p.m. Visitors can watch the eclipse safely at several observation stations. At the gardens, the eclipse will begin at 1:15 p.m. and end at 4:05 p.m. At its peak (2:44 p.m.), 93 percent of the sun will be covered by the moon. Admission is free, parking is $2 per hour

Follow these tipsIn Raleigh, the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences will celebrate the eclipse from 2 to 3 p.m. Visitors may watch a link-up from Sylva, North Carolina, which is in the path of the total eclipse. The link-up, in the museum’s Daily Planet Theater, will begin at 2 p.m. with the full eclipse occurring at 2:32 p.m.

Everyone in North America will see a partial eclipse, according to NASA. Residents in a path from Oregon to South Carolina will experience a total solar eclipse. Counties in western North Carolina are in the path of the total eclipse.

Solar eclipses are rare. This will be the first total solar eclipse in the 48 states since 1979 and the first total solar eclipse visible from the Carolinas since 1970, according to Morehead Planetarium.

Here are some other watches planned in western North Carolina:

▪  Gorges State Park in Sapphire will host three days of events beginning Saturday, Aug. 19.

▪  Bryson City will feature a downtown block party from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Total darkness will last for 1 minute and 57 seconds.

▪  In Sylva, live music, food trucks and eclipse experts will be at Bridge Park downtown from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Total time of darkness will be 1 minute 45 seconds. For information, visit the Jackson County website.

Cliff Bellamy: 919-419-6744, @CliffBellamy1

More Eclipse Parties

For a list of eclipse sites and events, visit www.romanticasheville.com/solar-eclipse or Morehead Planetarium.