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Spring City wants you to know it's a primo viewing spot for August's total solar eclipse

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The town of Spring City in Rhea County finds itself in a very fortunate position come August 21st.

The town is in the direct path of one of the first total solar eclipses to happen in the continental United States in more than 30 years. And it's now trying to let everyone know that the small town will be a prime viewing location for the big event.

Related: Rare total solar eclipse coming to parts of NC9 viewing area in August, 2017

Travel experts expect millions of people in the United States to travel to locations within a 70-mile-wide swath representing the path of totality across the country stretching from Oregon to South Carolina. Spring City is in the enviable position of being right on the center line of the path.

The eclipse starts in the northwestern U.S. and continues through Nebraska and Missouri, and on to a wide swath through middle & east Tennessee.

Here's a map of the eclipse's path. Click on the map and zoom in to Tennessee, and keep going until you see Spring City appear.

You may notice something town officials have already realized: the area of 'totality,' where the sun will be eclipsed for the longest period of time, runs right through the heart of downtown. Not every U.S. city is so lucky.

City officials hope to get the word out that they are ready for an onslaught of tourists to join their eclipse celebration.

Mayor Billy Ray Patton said the town is one of the best places in the world to view the eclipse because it will have two minutes and 39 seconds of totality when the moon completely blocks the view of the sun. Hopkinsville, KY and Carbondale, IL have the longest duration of totality at two minutes and 41 seconds.

“We expect thousands of people to visit Spring City to view this eclipse,” Patton said. “Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Atlanta will not experience totality. Many of the people in those areas will drive somewhere to see it. We are close, plus we have the longest duration in the area.”

Eclipse-watchers in Chattanooga and north Georgia, to the south of the main path, will see some portion of it. But it won't be as spectacular and as long as in Spring City.

City Manager Stephania Motes is leading the town’s eclipse planning committee. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and we plan to make the most of it,” Motes said. “The best we can determine, the last total eclipse in Spring City was in 1506.” Motes said her committee is working with various municipal and county departments, local businesses and civic groups, law enforcement, school officials and community volunteers. She encourages anyone who is interested in participating to call City Hall.

“We want to put out a big welcome mat in Spring City. We plan to have special events and activities for the weekend and the following Monday when the eclipse will occur. One major event will be a festival at Veteran’s Park. The park will be one of the town’s designated viewing sites. We also will have special events on the lake. We want to take advantage of this opportunity to showcase to our guests the natural beauty of our mountains and waterways,” Motes said.

Other locations in the area which are in the path of totality include Dayton, which will see two minutes and 21 seconds in the moon’s shadow, and Graysville, which will experience two minutes and eight seconds of totality. Niota and Cleveland are also prime viewing spots.

The last total solar eclipse in the continental United States was in the northwest in 1979. A solar eclipse occurs when the moon moves between the Earth and sun and is perfectly aligned to completely cover the sun. “I’m told it is one of the most stunningly beautiful sights in the world. I can’t wait to see it,” Motes said.

But what if it's cloudy? It may not be ideal, but most viewers will still be able to see it get noticeably darker as the eclipse happens.



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