Why I'm going to Missouri near the centerline for the solar eclipse on April 8

The total solar eclipse on April 8 is just around the corner.

After spending months researching different locations to see the total solar eclipse, I’ve landed on Cape Girardeau, Missouri. That’s because the town of some 40,000 people is close to the centerline, which refers to the middle of the path the moon’s shadow will take as it crosses North America. This location therefore doesn’t just lie within the path of totality, but in a spot that allows eclipse-chasers to get 4 minutes and 6 seconds of the totality experience.

Nearly seven years ago, I witnessed the Aug. 21, 2017 total solar eclipse from Franklin, North Carolina, and got to experience around 2 minutes and 30 seconds of totality.

This time, I want more.

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I likely won’t get to experience another total solar eclipse for a few more decades — at least without significant travel. In 2045, a total eclipse will cross the United States again, traveling over California, the American desert, the Midwest and several states in the Deep South and Gulf region.

So, this year, I’m driving about 8 hours to Cape Girardeau to maximize my totality time. The town is holding several large block parties that are perfect for those witnessing the eclipse with children (as I will be), including the VisitCape Solar Eclipse Watch Party at the Cape Girardeau Sportsplex. The event will feature food trucks, a DJ, activities for kids — and places to escape the sun without the moon’s help if needed.

Cape Girardeau is expecting quite a few visitors for the eclipse this year, although not as many as some larger cities like Dallas are planning for. “We’re expecting at least 17,000 to 20,000 people, and that’s just taking it from the research that was done back in 2017,” said Brenda Newbern, executive director of the Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitors Bureau, in a phone call with Space.com.

“It’ll probably be about 20,000 people because you have to also remember that the line of totality across the United States does come closer to a lot of locations where people can travel to,” Newbern added. “We are pretty much right on the line to get the most possible you know viewing time. So, that’s why most eclipse enthusiasts are coming here.”

RELATED STORIES:

 — Why you don’t need to get to the centerline for April’s total solar eclipse — and what will happen at the edge

—  Total solar eclipse 2024: How and where to watch online for free

 — What happens if it’s cloudy for the April 8 solar eclipse?

Weather permitting, Cape Girardeau should offer a great view of the eclipse, with the Mississippi River lying to the southeast just below where the sun will be positioned. I’ll be shooting the total solar eclipse with a Unistellar Odyssey Pro smart telescope, so the 4 minutes and 6 seconds of totality should hopefully lead to some incredible photography.

After the eclipse, Cape Girardeau’s mural-filled downtown and riverfront areas will offer eclipse-chasers a place to unwind, reflect on the day and perhaps plan their next eclipse trip.

See you in Missouri!

Source: Space.com

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