It hasn't happened in seven years and is a sight to behold. A total eclipse of the sun will occur on April 8.

The total eclipse will not be visible in Alabama. We will be able to see only an unimpressive partial eclipse.

A wide path of totality enters the United States in Texas at the Mexican border. It continues northeastward, exiting into Canada.

For Alabama folks wanting to experience the total eclipse, some places in the path of totality are nearby, well worth the drive for a serious skywatcher.

See them here.

Eclipse Alabama News

Four states within driving distance of Alabama that will be in the path of totality are Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri. These sites for viewing are highlighted by Space.com:

TEXAS

  • Radar Base (1:27 p.m. CDT, 4 minutes, 26 seconds): the first location to experience totality in the U.S. and for the longest time.  

  • According to meteorologist Jay Anderson, Texclipse Music Festival, Junction (1:34 p.m. CDT, 3 minutes, 10 seconds) is the best climatological prospect for a clear sky in the U.S. 

  • Ground Zero Music Festival, Bandera (1:31 p.m. CDT, 4 minutes, 9 seconds): 20 bands, a full cowboy rodeo, stunt shows and a car and truck show. Could it be any more Texan?  

OKLAHOMA

  • Beavers Bend State Park, Hochatown (1:46 p.m. CDT; 4 minutes, 13 seconds): hiking, biking, and fishing on the shores of Broken Bow Lake in the Ouachita National Forest. 

  • Hochatown State Park (1:46 p.m. CDT; 4 minutes, 13 seconds): adjacent to Beavers Bend State Park with accommodation.  

  • Red Slough WMA, Idabel (1:45 p.m. CDT; 4 minutes 15 seconds): 2,400 acres of wetlands near the border with Texas and Arkansas.  

ARKANSAS

  • Hot Springs National Park (1:49 p.m. CDT; 3 minutes, 43 seconds): one of only two official national parks within the path of totality.  

  • Total Eclipse of the Heart Festival, Russellville (1:50 p.m. CDT, 4 minutes 10 seconds): blues music, hot air balloons and BBQ are promised. 

  • Mount Ida (1:48 p.m. CDT; 4 minutes, 15 seconds): rock shops and private mines allow visitors to search for their own crystals.  

MISSOURI

  • Fourche Creek Conservation Area (1:55 p.m. CDT; 4 minutes, 13 seconds): the longest totality in Missouri and bang on the centerline.

  • Cape Girardeau (1:58 p.m. CDT; 4 minutes, 4 seconds): likely the busiest place in Missouri on eclipse day, this city will experience its second totality in less than seven years.  

  • Poplar Bluff (1:56 p.m. CDT; 4 minutes, 8 seconds): longer totality than any other sizable community in Missouri.  

Local weather conditions could make or break the viewing of the eclipse. Planning ahead of time to go to one of these sites runs the risk that local weather conditions will ruin your trip. Serious skywatchers recommend waiting to check local conditions for April 1-5. Then, head for the area with clear skies predicted for April 8.

If you must miss this total eclipse on April 8, don't worry. There will be another one in 2044. It will be covered by 1819 News.

Jim Zeigler is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at [email protected].

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