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The summer of 2017 will be the first time in 38 years a total solar eclipse will be visible from the contiguous United States, and Hopkinsville will be right in the middle of it.
The Paducah Sun reports the Aug. 21 eclipse will sweep a shadow across the United States from Oregon to South Carolina and will be visible in 14 states.
Hopkinsville will experience the longest period of totality of any city at 2 minutes, 40 seconds.
Cheryl Cook is the executive director of the Hopkinsville/Christian County Convention and Visitors Bureau. She said the eclipse could prove to be the largest tourism event in Hopkinsville’s history with as many as 50,000 people converging on the city. She said the event has been on the city’s radar since 2007.
“I get calls every day, or emails, from people all over the world,” Cook said. “We’re working to make sure their visit is great, that they’ll go back talking about Hopkinsville. We’re working on having lots of events for that weekend and having something for everybody.”
Neighboring areas are also expecting visitors. Paducah will be in the eclipse’s shadow for 2 minutes and 20 seconds, while parts of Eddyville and Land Between the Lakes will see as much as 2 minutes, 39 seconds of totality.
Land Between the Lakes spokeswoman Janice Wilson said officials there are in the very early stages of planning, but they will host something special to celebrate the eclipse. That could include a big party at the planetarium.
Laura Schaumburg, with the Paducah Conventions & Visitors Bureau, also said plans there are in very early stages.
Western Kentucky Amateur Astronomers President Alan Dudenhofer warned that how much of the eclipse visitors see will depend on the weather.
“Let’s hope for clear skies all along the eclipse path so as many people will be able to enjoy the grand spectacle of nature as possible,” he said.