Expectation reigned at Clingmans Dome the morning of Aug. 21 as buses rolled in carrying the 1,325 people lucky enough to snag tickets for the solar eclipse event at the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Packing to watch the sun disappear felt like packing for work, camping and an emergency evacuation all at once.

Covered in sweat, I could feel the slight trickle of ice water dripping down my leg.

It was like watching the slowest sporting event ever. Spectators with their eyes toward the sky shouted in excitement and booed with disappointment as the clouds passed over the sun.

Strange days, as Doors front man Jim Morrison famously sang, have found us.

On Monday, Aug. 21, Western North Carolina residents and visitors will have the chance to see a rare total solar eclipse. This is the first time in 26 years that America has seen a total solar eclipse, and it is one of the few that will sweep the nation from Pacific to Atlantic coasts.

SEE ALSO:
• What to do, where to go?
• Eclipse photography takes research, preparation
• Local governments plan for the worst, hope for the best
• How to prepare for the eclipse

The Smoky Mountain News has compiled an eclipse guide containing all you need to know about how to prepare for, view, photograph and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime event.

On Aug. 21, the day of the Great American Eclipse, 50 high-altitude weather balloon teams from across the country will launch their payloads into the air to capture live images and video from the edge of space that will go straight to NASA’s website.

At 2:35 p.m. on Aug. 21, Western North Carolina residents and visitors will have the chance to watch as the moon moves fully in front of the sun for the first time in 26 years.

WNC prepares to celebrate Solar Eclipse

It’s safe to say that a good solar eclipse photo requires a bit more preparation than your average snapshot.

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