Thousands Expected In Hopkinsville For 2017 Solar Eclipse
By Adam Ghassemi
HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. – Hopkinsville has a population of a little more than 30,000 but in 2017 it's expected to more than double for just a few days.
"It's going to be a really big deal," said Cheryl Cook with the Hopkinsville-Christian County Convention and Visitors Bureau who started planning seven years ago for the biggest event they've ever seen.
"It could cause traffic jams from here to Nashville," she said.
Visitors are coming from places as far away as Germany, Australia and Japan to see a total eclipse for 2:40 of darkness.
It's so rare a map of the projected path has been hanging in the office of Austin Peay Astronomy Professor Spencer Buckner for 15 years.
"The best place on earth that will have the longest period of totality is actually just north and west of Hopkinsville," Buckner said Friday. "I don't know of another one that will happen in the next few hundred years."
City leaders want to make sure they don't miss any details, like visitors have protective eye wear to seeing the eclipse, or cutting electricity off in certain parts of the city. That way when things do go dark, lights won't automatically come on and disrupt the view.
"We're hoping for a bright, sunny, warm day. No clouds in the sky," Cook said.
Scientists are planning how they'll capture and study the eclipse along its cross-country path from Oregon to South Carolina, while "eclipse chasers" have their trips to Hopkinsville already confirmed.
"Over 400 rooms booked," said Chairman of the Hopkinsville-Christian County Convention and Visitors Bureau Board Jeff Smith. "I've never seen anything like this."
When the moon perfectly aligns with the sun there won't be any better place in the world to see it on August 21, 2017.
"The world's coming to Hopkinsville," Cook went on to say.
Spectators will be able to see the eclipse from a number of places across Southern Kentucky and Middle Tennessee, but people just 70 miles from Hopkinsville in Nashville will get 44 fewer seconds to witness it.