Eclipse crash course: What to know if you're viewing in Nebraska (or considering it)

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Unless you’ve been living on the dark side of the moon for the past year, you probably know that a total solar eclipse will cross a wide swath of Nebraska four weeks from tomorrow.

This is a big deal. The last time a full eclipse swept coast to coast across the continental United States was 99 years ago — and the path of the moon’s shadow in Nebraska at midday Aug. 21 could hardly have been better planned by the Nebraska Tourism Commission.

The roughly 67-mile-wide band called the “path of totality’’ — where people will experience upward of 2½ minutes of darkness when the moon completely covers the sun — crosses the state diagonally along a 468-mile path from the northwest to the southeast. (Iowa is not so fortunate. Only 3 square miles — and no towns — are in totality.)

[Interactive map: Eclipse's path across Nebraska]

The moon’s shadow will pass over Nebraska in minutes.

If you’re outside the totality zone, you’ll see a partial eclipse, where the moon covers part of the sun’s disk. That means if you’re in such places as Omaha, Chadron, Columbus, Fremont, Holdrege, McCook, Nebraska City, Norfolk, Ogallala, Sidney and Valentine, you are out of luck for the big show.

Unless you hit the road. If you do, expect company. Lots of company.

Eclipse mania and the broad swath of darkness are expected to attract upward of 466,000 visitors to Nebraska to witness the rare celestial event.

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