The Occasions Lady and The Countdown to Darkness
It may not be on your radar yet, but the countdown is on to one of the biggest events to ever hit the state of Arkansas – the 2024 Great North American Eclipse.
The eclipse will carve a narrow path of totality across North America, moving from the southwest to northeast across 13 states, including Arkansas. According to the Arkansas Department of Tourism, nearly two-thirds of the state will be inside the path of totality on April 8, 2024, during the total solar eclipse.
To experience the total phase of the eclipse, observers must be located within the narrow path of totality with the duration of totality lasting the longest at the centerline. Jonesboro is in the path of totality.
Eclipse2024.org estimates that those observing the total eclipse in Jonesboro will see two minutes and 23.7 seconds of totality, or total darkness. The centerline of the eclipse will enter Arkansas at approximately 12:29 p.m., with totality beginning at approximately 1:46 p.m. Arkansas experienced only partial totality during the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017.
The duration of totality will be up to 4 minutes and 27 seconds at some locations during the 2024 eclipse, nearly double that of The Great American Eclipse of 2017.
“The 2017 total solar eclipse was witnessed by about 20 million people from Oregon to South Carolina,” according to greatamericaneclipse.com, “and the upcoming 2024 Great American Eclipse is sure to be witnessed by many millions more.”
Hotel rooms and other lodging accommodations in Arkansas are already filling up for next April despite the two to three night minimum stay required by many during the 2024 Great North American Eclipse. Arkansas State Parks is requiring a four-night minimum stay. Visit the Arkansas State Parks website (arkansasstateparks.com) to view a list of eclipse times at each Arkansas State Park, as well as a countdown clock to the 2024 total solar eclipse.
Danny Kapales, director of Jonesboro Parks and Recreation, says plans are under way to promote the city as a viewing area for the 2024 Great North American Eclipse.
“We are starting to work on plans that will involve multiple parks in the city,” said Kapales. “Obviously, it’s not something our city has dealt with before, but we want to be ready.”
Although no one knows for certain how many visitors will travel to Jonesboro or other locations in Arkansas to view the rare eclipse, officials are optimistic about the impact the eclipse will have on tourism.
“We’ve heard all sorts of numbers,” said Kapales. “There are millions of people who will come to see the eclipse. We are not going to get all of those, but it may draw 100,000 to 150,000 to our area. If we get 100,000 people in Northeast Arkansas to view the eclipse, obviously that’s a great benefit to the city.”
The countdown to darkness is on, and Jonesboro is planning to make the most of it. Sometimes it pays to be in the dark.