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NC Arboretum Eclipse Views and Next Eclipse Dates

Western NC had the best view of the 2024 eclipse, drawing enthusiastic crowds to the NC Arboretum for a rare event.

The 2024 total eclipse in Western North Carolina provided the best view in the state, with up to 87% coverage in some areas of the region. The North Carolina Arboretum, spanning 434 acres, hosted a rare event that attracted a large crowd of enthusiastic spectators amidst fair weather and spring blooms.

Arboretum Communications Manager Brian Postelle noted that the event was one of the busiest they had ever experienced, comparable only to the annual Winter Lights show. Attendees at the Arboretum Education Center marveled at the eclipse, with "Oohs" and "Aahs" filling the air during peak coverage at 3:09 p.m. The sky cleared of clouds just in time for the eclipse's peak, adding to the spectacle.

Vice President of Education for the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, Theresa Schwerin, delivered a presentation on eclipse safety, data tracking with GLOBE Observer, and facts about past and future eclipses. The Arboretum partnered with the institute to introduce NASA-funded citizen science programs like GLOBE Observer and Eclipse Soundscapes to the Asheville area.

GLOBE Observer allows participants to collect data on temperature changes, cloud patterns, and land coverage during celestial events like solar eclipses. Schwerin and others recorded a significant temperature drop of nearly 10 degrees during the eclipse, from 76 degrees to around 67 degrees.

Schwerin also shared that the next total solar eclipse over the contiguous United States will be in August 2044, while North Carolina will be in the direct path of a total solar eclipse in 2078. Prior to the 2017 eclipse, the last total eclipse in North Carolina was in 1900.

Attendees like Jenna Mixon, who crafted a pin-hole camera out of a Ritz Cracker box to view the eclipse safely, expressed excitement for the event. Others, like James and Merle Dixon, traveled from Fort Bragg to witness the eclipse, donning eclipse merchandise and vibrant glasses. James Dixon already plans to observe the next eclipse from the path of totality, possibly in North Dakota, South Dakota, or Montana.

As the eclipse event came to a close, attendees left with memories of a rare celestial phenomenon and anticipation for future eclipses. The 2024 total eclipse in Western North Carolina was truly a sight to behold, bringing together nature enthusiasts, science lovers, and curious spectators for an unforgettable experience.

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