2017 Solar Eclipse

The Total Solar Eclipse on August 21st, 2017 represents a once in a lifetime opportunity to see one of the most spectacular of astronomical events. Much of Transylvania County is in the path of totality for the eclipse – making it one of the best places to see and experience the eclipse in all its glory.
Download our informational eclipse handout here.


Transylvania County rooms are filling up fast. You can research local accommodations here.


Transylvania County has several special events and viewing opportunities in the works, including some exciting events sponsored by Oskar Blues, Brevard Music Center and Gorges State Park. As these plans are finalized, we’ll be updating this page on a regular basis. So check back often!


To download the Eclipse Safety Glasses order form click here.


We invite you to visit the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI) website as well. PARI will be home to two NASA research teams during the eclipse, as well as hundreds of amateur astronomers.


In the meantime, here are some frequently asked questions about the eclipse and more specifics about what you can expect to see in Transylvania County on August 21st and why the “Land of Waterfalls,” in particular is a great place to experience this exciting phenomenon.

Eclipse FAQs

  • What is a solar eclipse?

    A solar eclipse occurs when the moon, directly between the sun and earth, casts a shadow on our planet. Eclipses can be partial or total. While they happen regularly across our planet, the Total Solar Eclipse this year is special in many ways – keep reading!
  • When was the last total eclipse in the U.S?

    The last total eclipse in the continental United States happened 38 years ago, on February 26, 1979. However, on that occasion, the path of the eclipse included only five states in the Northwest.
  • What makes this eclipse so special?

    The path of 2017’s eclipse will track across the entire United States, so everyone, weather depending, will get to see at least a partial eclipse. But the eclipse also has a “zone of totality.” This is the area where people can see a 100% eclipse. This narrow path happens to run right through a few select counties in western North Carolina.
  • What’s the difference between a partial and a total eclipse?

    Cheeky astronomers say it’s the difference between being “pregnant” and “almost pregnant.” In other words, it’s a dramatic difference. For example, Asheville will only experience an 85% eclipse, whereas parts of Transylvania County will be in 100% totality for up to 2 minutes.
  • What is a total eclipse like?

    While those viewing the partial eclipse might not even notice a darkening sky, those witnessing the total eclipse will experience something altogether amazing. First, even though it will occur in mid-afternoon, the sky will darken so much that you can see the stars. The wind will die. Birds will go quiet. And, with the proper glasses, viewers will see the sun’s corona, the diamond ring formed by the moon passing directly between the sun and earth. It is truly an astonishing phenomenon. On August 21st, this zone of totality will occur in a line moving from the northwest to the southeast across the United States. (See associated map.)
  • When does the eclipse start in the U.S?

    The first glimpse of totality will occur at Government Point, Oregon, at 1:15:56 pm, EDT. There, the totality phase will last for 1 minute, 58.5 seconds.
  • When does the eclipse leave the U.S.?

    The zone of totality departs coastal South Carolina at 2:49:07 pm, EDT.
  • How many states does the “zone of totality” pass through?

    It passes through fourteen states: Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
  • How long will the total eclipse last in Transylvania County?

    It depends on where you are. Here are some key destinations in Transylvania County, the time the totality starts and the length of totality: Brevard - 1 minute 4 seconds. Cedar Mountain - 1 minute, 25 seconds. Lake Toxaway - 2 minutes, 8 seconds. Pisgah Forest (Community, not the National Forest) - 34 seconds. Rosman - 1 minute 53 seconds. As you can see, the time of totality varies widely, even within the county.
  • What else should I know about this Total Solar Eclipse?

    Transylvania County is home to the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute. Developed by NASA during the pioneering days of the U.S. space program, the historic site has been transformed into an innovative public science center exploring the vital relationships between people, nature and our vast solar system. The zone of totality passes directly over PARI, the only place in the world where the total eclipse will occur directly over some of the most advanced astronomical equipment in the world: two 26-meter radio telescopes, a 4.5-meter radio telescope and a 12-meter radio telescope. Because of this unique convergence, PARI will be able to conduct scientific study of a total eclipse that has never before been possible. Additionally, NASA will be on hand with two teams of scientists that day. In collaboration with NC State, NASA will launch a high altitude balloon equipped with payloads to produce live video and still images of the eclipse from near-space (approx. 90,000 feet). This is one of 50 balloon launches across the path of totality on that day. As a result of this collaboration, visitors to PARI that day will be able to view the launch and observe the imagery of the eclipse via a live NASA TV stream, as well as engage in hands-on activities related to the eclipse and other astronomical phenomenon. A NASA-sponsored team will launch AEROKATS (Advanced Earth Research Observation Kites and Terrestrial Systems). This kite will allow the team to conduct novel meteorological and remote sensing observations before, during and after the eclipse.