Solar Eclipse 2017

We hope that everyone enjoyed their time in Paducah for the total solar eclipse.  If you weren't able to see the August 21, 2017, event, don't worry. Another total solar eclipse will be visible in the United States on April 8, 2024.  Once again Paducah is in a prime location for viewing the celestial event.

eclipse pathWhat is a Total Solar Eclipse

Make plans to spend time in Paducah to experience the Great American Eclipse on Monday, August 21, 2017.  Many areas in Kentucky will provide great viewing opportunities.  On that date, millions of people across the United States will see a rare celestial event — a total eclipse of the Sun. The Moon completely blocks the Sun causing daytime to become a deep twilight.  The Sun's corona will shimmer in the darkened sky. The total eclipse is truly a once-in-a- lifetime event.  According to NASA, any given point on the planet will only experience a total solar eclipse about once every 375 years. 

Times and Duration for Paducah

Kentucky experiences the longest eclipse duration in the narrow path of totality which spans a diagonal line of the contiguous United States from Oregon to South Carolina. Paducah is part of a narrow path in which the total solar eclipse will reach totality at approximately 1:22 p.m.  The entire process from when the eclipse begins to when the moon does not block the sun takes around three hours.

Here are the times for the eclipse on August 21 for Paducah:

  • 11:54 a.m. eclipse begins
  • 1:22 p.m. totality begins
  • 1:24 p.m. totality ends (lasts 2 minutes, 21 seconds)
  • 2:49 p.m. eclipse ends

Nearby Hopkinsville, Kentucky is considered to be the point of greatest eclipse (a calculated point when the axis of the moon’s shadow passes closest to the center of the Earth) with a duration of 2 minutes 40.1 seconds.  Carbondale, Illinois has the greatest eclipse duration with totality for 2 minutes 40.2 seconds.  

Eye Safety

The only time you can look at the eclipse without eclipse glasses is during the two minutes of totality.  Otherwise, you need eclipse glasses that are compliant with the ISO 12312-2 safety standard.  Please note that regular sunglasses are NOT safe to use.


The eclipse will bring an influx of visitors to this area.  Western Kentucky counties are bracing for an influx of anywhere from 100,000 visitors up to a half-million or more starting about three days before the eclipse.  With the increased number of visitors in the area, there is potential for gridlock along the Interstate 24 and Interstate 69 corridors through Kentucky, along KY 91 between Princeton and Hopkinsville, the Pennyrile Parkway, and the U.S. 68/KY 80 corridor in the western half of the state.  These roads would be congested for several days – before, during and after the eclipse.

We ask motorists to be patient.  We highly recommend that folks come early, stay put, and leave late to lessen the impact of anticipated traffic in the western Kentucky region.

Celebratory Events and Lodging

Celebratory eclipse events are being planned by a variety of organizations.  Many of them are listed through the Paducah Convention & Visitors Bureau in addition to a list of available lodging.

City-organized events on the days leading to the eclipse are as follows:

  • Thursday, August 17—RIVERfront Concert Series featuring City of the Sun (6-8:30 p.m.)
  • Friday, August 18—Music in the Gazebo (6-8 p.m.) featuring Mid Life Crisis
  • Saturday, August 19—Farmers’ Market Celebration Saturday (7:30 a.m.-2 p.m.)
  • Saturday, August 19—Music in the Gazebo (6-8 p.m.) featuring Wheelhouse Rousters
  • Sunday, August 20—Music in the Gazebo (6-8 p.m.) featuring Soul Dog
  • Mon, August 21--Enjoy the total solar eclipse!

Free Local Viewing Options - City Parks

Paducah offers numerous parks so that you can sit back and enjoy the eclipse.  Paducah has a 4.5 mile Greenway Trail that has good open areas between the downtown Convention Center and Noble Park.  Popular parks that have open space and available parking are 

Recommendations and Safety Reminders

  • Choose a specific place to watch the eclipse.  Do not stop along area highways - you can be issued a citation for impeding traffic.  Parking along the shoulder or right-of-way creates a number of safety hazards.
  • Be prepared for traffic delays. Thousands of visitors may create traffic gridlock at some critical intersections and interchanges, particularly along the I-24 corridor and KY 91 corridor.  Also, heavy traffic may hinder the ability of emergency agencies to respond.
  • Be patient as you are likely to encounter slow-moving traffic at some point during your visit.
  • Be prepared for lines at fuel pumps.  Also, access to fuel may be limited.
  • Be prepared to have limited cell phone service.  Heavy cell and data traffic may cause cell systems to have delays.  If your group is traveling in several vehicles consider communicating with two-way radios as cell service near the total eclipse corridor may be limited due to heavy demand.
  • Restroom facilities will be at a premium.  Pick a viewing location with appropriate facilities.
  • Bring an ample supply of food and water for the duration of your planned stay.  Restaurants and grocery stores may experience long lines.
  • Have a specific place to stay - Either a hotel room or appropriate campsite.  Please note that camping in City of Paducah parks is NOT permitted.
  • Bring sunscreen, insect repellant, and first aid items.
  • Be prepared for the weather and possible extreme summer heat.  Temperatures in mid-to-late August can be in the 90s.

Web Resources  

Great American Eclipse website 
NASA's Solar Eclipse webpage
Eclipse Viewing Tips (Eye Protection Guidance)
National Eclipse Website