On April 8, when the moon totally blocks out the sun’s light, tens of millions of people from Texas to Maine will have a chance to experience what is being dubbed as the “Great American Eclipse.”

If you miss 2024’s celestial event, the next opportunity to glimpse a total solar eclipse in the U.S. won’t be for another 20 years, when just Montana and North Dakota will slip into darkness in 2044.

While it’s not in the path of totality for 2024’s total solar eclipse, Asheville will see approximately 85% of the eclipse during its peak, making it one of the better, though not best, locations to view the eclipse in North Carolina.

Want to know the best places in North Carolina to view the eclipse? Search for your ZIP code below or select a major city to reveal the time, duration, peak and percentage of the eclipse in your area.

What will you see during the eclipse, interactive map

For cities and towns within the path of totality, the moon will block out the Earth’s vision of the sun, creating a dawn-like or nighttime-like effect.

On April 8, the eclipse will start to dim the sun’s light at 1:51 p.m. Maximum coverage from the eclipse will take place at 3:09 p.m., when the moon will cover most of the sun’s disk in the Asheville area. The eclipse ends at 4:24 p.m.

Developed by the USA TODAY network, the interactives display where you can see the eclipse and how much of the sun will be covered by the moon’s disk based on location and ZIP code. For 28801, or downtown Asheville’s ZIP code, those visiting the area’s central business district will have nearly 85% of the sun obscured by the moon.

In North Carolina, the best ZIP code for eclipse viewing is 28733, which includes Fontana Village Resort. The moon is projected to cover 86.4% of the sun’s disk in this area.

The Arboretum is located along the eastern migratory route of monarch butterflies.

The Arboretum is located along the eastern migratory route of monarch butterflies.

NC Arboretum chosen for eclipse research

Among other exciting opportunities coming to WNC during the eclipse, the 434-acre North Carolina Arboretum will hold an event from 1-4 p.m. April 8 with education sessions and special events.

In partnership with the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, the event will also include the opportunity to receive NASA eclipse glasses to safely view the eclipse, alongside a livestream showing the path of totality.

The Arboretum will also participate in Eclipse Soundscapes, a project funded by NASA’s Science Activation Program, which aims to understand how eclipses affect life on Earth, according to the Eclipse Soundscapes website.

The event is free, and no registration will be required, though regular parking fees will still apply.

Don’t forget your glasses!

One of the most important aspects of watching the total solar eclipse is eye safety. Improper protection from the sun could lead to permanent damage to your vision or even blindness.

All eclipse watchers need ISO rated 12,312-2 glasses to view the eclipse. The American Optometric Association and NASA have certified companies from which you can buy glasses.

No matter what your plans are, you should know this: Don’t look at the sun without protection.

Asheville and WNC eclipse events

There will be plenty other eclipse-related activities across Western North Carolina, whether that be with a former astronaut, or the chance to visit one of the few “Dark-Sky Certified Parks” in the state. Here’s a list of four events which will celebrate and provide education on the total eclipse.

  • Fairview’s Turgua Brewing Co. will hold a viewing party at 2 p.m. April 8 for the eclipse, where the brewery will be handing out a limited number of viewing glasses.

  • Another brewery option is with Highland Brewing’s Rooftop at 2 p.m., where the brewery will hand out eclipse glasses to the first 100 guests.

  • Sylva’s Southwestern Community College will collaborate with Jackson County Early College to view the eclipse alongside food trucks from 2-4 p.m. as the area will see a partial eclipse with 87% coverage. Eclipse viewing glasses will be available.

  • View the April 8 eclipse at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute, or PARI, in Transylvania County, to learn more about eclipse research, astronomical artifacts and more during PARI’s all day event. The ticket price is $40 for children 12 and under and $80 for adults.

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Will Hofmann is the Growth and Development Reporter for the Asheville Citizen Times, part of the USA Today Network. Got a tip? Email him at [email protected].

This article originally appeared on Asheville Citizen Times: April 2024 total solar eclipse guide: How to watch in Asheville, NC

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