Western Nebraska’s Solar Eclipse

Western Nebraska is going to host an event so big in 2017 it’s literally going to block out the sun.

The moon will travel directly between the sun and the earth on Aug. 21, creating a rare total solar eclipse. The Sandhills are considered the fourth-best viewing spot in the entire country thanks to predicted clear weather conditions and lack of interference from city lights, buildings and trees. Avid eclipse-watchers are expected to descend from all over the world to view this once-in-a-lifetime event.

Stapleton, Tryon and Alliance lie along the eclipse’s centerline and are predicted to have some of the state’s longest periods of totality. These towns have been planning for years to make the most of their roughly two and half minutes of darkness, when the sun will be able to be viewed safely with the naked eye.

Stapleton will kick off its viewing party Saturday with the Logan County Rodeo and will also host a fair, a 5k fun run and a street dance. Prime eclipse viewing will be offered at the Logan County Fairgrounds and the Augusta Wind Golf Course. In Tryon, wagon rides, sod house tours and a teepee camp will showcase the region’s culture. Dedicated eclipse viewing grounds will boast food vendors, a beer garden and a petting zoo. Nearby North Platte will serve as a hub for visitors, offering shuttle service to Tryon and Stapleton as well as hosting a buffalo feed and other special events at Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park.

Alliance will celebrate the eclipse with weekend concerts, family-friendly activities, educational programs and eclipse viewing at Laing Lake and the Airport Rodeo Grounds. Alliance also offers the unique chance to get “mooned” at Carhenge. This quirky landmark of cars arranged like England’s Stonehenge just might be the most unusual place to see this equally unusual celestial event. carhengesolareclipse2017.com.

For more information on viewing destinations and special events planned for the total solar eclipse, visit neclipse17.com.