Solar Eclipse – August 21, 2017


What Is A Solar Eclipse?

These are eclipses where the Moon goes in between the Earth and the Sun, and passes right “in front of” the Sun as seen from the Earth.

Now, the Sun is very bright, and even though the Moon might be passing in front of it, there will almost always still be a part of the Sun that the Moon isn’t covering up. SO LONG AS ANY BRIGHT PART of the Sun is still able to be seen – regardless of whether the Moon is covering other parts of it up – it is still just as dangerous to look at the Sun as it would be during any other (non-eclipse) time! You simply can’t look directly at the Sun without proper eye protection (“eclipse glasses”) during a solar eclipse – unless ALL of the Sun is being covered by the Moon. And that requires a very special set of circumstances!

You see, unlike with a lunar eclipse, the whole daytime side of the Earth is NOT EVER going to see the Sun covered up! In fact, the part of the Earth that sees the Moon totally covering the Sun is EXTREMELY small – maybe a strip of land about 50 miles wide or so! This strip is called the “path of totality”, and if you want to see the Sun totally covered by the Moon, you HAVE to be in that path! If you’re not in that path, then you will ONLY see a partial eclipse.

If you are not in the path of totality, the Sun will NEVER be completely covered by the Moon for you, and so you must ALWAYS use eclipse glasses to view the eclipse.

But if you ARE in that path of totality, then you will see the Moon cover up the Sun little by little (using your eclipse glasses, of course!), until for just maybe a minute or two (depending entirely on your exact location), the Moon COMPLETELY covers the Sun! During that brief period of time ONLY, we say that the Sun is being TOTALLY eclipsed. There is no bright part of the Sun that is visible any more, because the Moon is completely covering it! During that time, the totally eclipsed Sun is one of the most beautiful sights there is on Earth, and it can be safely looked at without any eye protection at all – because the Moon is completely covering the Sun! But the Moon keeps moving, and very soon the bright part of the Sun will come back out from behind it again. The second you see that bright part of the Sun come back into view, you must once again use eye protection to look at the eclipse.

How do we know what to be prepared for? Simple – First, you have to make sure you are in the path of totality. If you aren’t, then you will ALWAYS need to use eye protection to look at the eclipse. If you are in the path of totality, you still have to have eye protection available to look at the partial phases of the eclipse, as the Moon is slowly covering up the Sun. Once you can’t see anything through the eclipse glasses, then the Sun is being totally eclipsed, and it’s safe to look at. The view of the “corona” of the totally eclipsed Sun won’t be any brighter than the full Moon at night, and you can safely look directly at it. But once the Moon moves on, and the slightest bright piece of the Sun’s disk becomes visible again, then you have to put the eclipse glasses back on – because totality is over for you!

And we have to say, if this simple explanation didn’t do it for you – if you still have questions about when and how it’s safe or not safe to look – then we have to advise you not to attempt to view the eclipse at all, using any method.


Learn more about the 2017 total solar eclipse here.

View The Eclipse 


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Fort Robinson State Park

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Agate Fossil Beds

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*Can only see partial solar eclipse

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View more areas to see the Solar Eclipse here.


Northwest Nebraska offers several lodging options including campgrounds, RV parks, bed & breakfasts, and hotels. Be sure to book your stay for this unique event as soon as possible! See the Northwest Nebraska lodging options HERE.

We are expecting a high volume of visitors during this time. Due to the fact that most lodging properties are fully booked at this point, Chadron community members have decided to open their homes to visitors for a brief period of time. Please see below for alternative community lodging options:

Barney Reece: Rooms Available
Steve Behrends: 6 Bedrooms
Cyd Janssen: Rooms Available
Shelly Reitz: 2 bedroom/1bath home that sleeps up to 7 available for rent

Jack: 5 bedroom home, unfurnished. Call for inquiries and details

RV Sites & Campgrounds:
Teresa Pritchard: Camping, RV, Daily parking– Near Box Butte Res
Barney Reece: Tents or RV’s WELCOME! No hookups
Carrie Lundburg: 30 amp small RV Spot, 8 miles South of Chadron
Duane & Patty Grimm: Dry Camping, 10 miles East of Harrison
(308)668-2176 or (308)430-1567
Cindy Cook: 2 RV hookups, tent camping, summit of Squaw Mound, Crawford, NE

Betty Mack: Primitive/dry camping, 6 miles from Agate Fossil Beds
Lela Daniels: Viewing Pasture for Solar Eclipse, $20 per car load
Lora O’Rourke: 2 Rv Spaces available with electricity. 4 additional spaces with no power. Tent camping also available with facilities. 5 mies south of Chadron. Easy Access off of hwy. 385
(308)432-5954 or cell @(308)430-8753

The Belknap Ranch: RV/Camper spaces available. No hook ups. 1 RV Camper, sleeps 6, full hook ups, also available for rent.
Mrs. Belknap (308)760-7768 or Mr.Belknap (308)760-6116
Bev Dyer: RV only, Dark skies, quiet ranch, water available, Viewing: 1 minute 5.1 seconds of totality. Located 2.9 miles southeast of Crawford.

Sheris Dojcsany: 2 RV spaces and primitive hook-up available. Pet friendly. Also available for tent camping.
Jacque Hageman: 1 RV/Camper available, sleeps 10.
Tom Bannan: 1 FREE lot for small camper available. Also room for 6-8 tents or 3-4 small camper spaces. 1 bathroom for all guests, must be willing to share with other folks staying.

Eclipse Activities 

Harrison/Agate Fossil Beds

Monday, August 21st
10 am: Street Vendors, Main St. at 2nd & Ann St.
11:47:25 – 48:17 am: TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE BEGINS, lasting 1 min 44 sec.
(Please see “Plan a Trip” tab to view local restaurants and sample trip ideas)
*If your interested in being street vendor, contact Misty Skavdahl (308)665-5088 for more information.
*For area camping opportunities contact organizer Misty Skavdahl (308)665-5088 or Annette Oldaker (308)665-5079
 Agate Fossil Beds:
Saturday, August 19th
9 am: Solar Balloon (children’s activity)

10 am: Kelly Looking Horse – Native American Perspective, Visitors Center
11 am: Toilet Paper Tube Eclipse Viewers (children’s activity)
Sunday, August 20th

10 am: Kelly Looking Horse – Native American Perspective, Visitors Center
2 pm: Kelly Looking Horse – Native American Perspective
7 pm: Night Sky Ranger Program followed by a Star Party

Monday, August 21st
9 am: Sun Print Paper Activity
10 am: Kelly Looking Horse – Native American Perspective, Visitors Center
10:25 am: Start of partial Eclipse
11:47:26 – 11:48:37 am: Total Solar Eclipse lasting 2 min 23 seconds.

DO NOT LOOK AT THE SUN WITHOUT SOLAR GLASSES! There will be free glasses available while supplies last. 

Monday, August 21st
4 pm: Senior Pro Rodeo
White River Wachipi Story Telling- City Park

Saturday, August 19th
9-5 pm: Craft Fair & Food
10 am: Senior Pro Rodeo BBQ Fundraiser
4 pm: Senior Pro Rodeo
8 pm: Star Party- Golf Course at dark- telescopes on driving range
All Day Solar Golf

Sunday, August 20th
10 am: Senior Pro Rodeo
Noon- 5 pm: Craft Fair & Food
8 pm: Star Party- Golf Course at dark- telescopes on driving range
All Day Solar Golf

Monday, August 21st
9 am:Pancake Feed Fundraiser sponsored by Old West Trails Rodeo

Saturday, August 5th
1:30 pm: Sun Science, Chadron Public Library

Wednesday, August 9th
6:30 pm: Shoot for the Sky, photographing the sun, moon and stars, Chadron Public Library

Saturday, August 12th
1:30 pm: Harnessing the Power of the Sun, Chadron Public Library

Thursday,  August 17th
6 pm: Bands on Bordeaux-The ENCORE, featuring Blue Street
6:30 pm: Solar Eclipse and Superstitions, Chadron Public Library

Friday, August 18th
6 pm: Eclilpse Celebration Sip & Paint, Ta Da Quilt Shop & Art Studio (please make reservations ahead of time) 

Saturday, August 19th 
1:30 p.m.  Chadron Public Library

Sunday, August 20th 
2-7 pm: Solar Eclipse Vendor Event, Holiday Inn Express
*Interested in joining us as a vendor? Please contact Mandy Brice 308-430-8535 or Kimzi Zuver 307-431-1339
2  -4 pm: Making Astronaut Food, Chadron State College- Math & Science Building
6 -8 pm: Ladyhawk (1985) Movie,  Chadron Public Library

Monday, August 21st 
10 am: NASA Live Feed!
10:27:06: Start of Partial Eclipse
11 am: Virtual Reality Demo with PlayStation 4™
11-1 pm: Eclipse Party, Chadron Public Library
11:49:57 am: Max Eclipse
*Not a total Eclipse, Obstruction: 99.5%
12:30 pm: Space Theme Mask Contest, Chadron Public Library 
1 pm: Virtual Reality Demo with PlayStation 4™
4 pm: Virtual Reality Demo with PlayStation 4™
4 pm: Live from the Moon, come try on a REAL NASA Spacesuit, Chadron Public Library


Solar Eclipse Sample Itinerary | August, 21 2017

Chadron: Partial begins: 10:15 am Max Eclipse begins: 11:49 am
8:30 a.m. – Start your day with Breakfast at Country Kitchen, Bean Broker, Daylight Donuts or Helen’s for breakfast.
10:00 a.m. – Head to the Chadron Public Library for the Chadron Eclipse Party. (507 Bordeaux St.)
10:00 a.m. – The NASA Live stream begins
11:00 a.m. – Play Station Virtual Reality Demo begins
11:00 -11:30 a.m. – Stay at the Chadron Public Library to view the party or take some time to mosey up to a clear spot in town, like “C” hill or the college practice/intramural fields for the viewing. (1000 Main St.)
1:00 p.m. – After the eclipse,  enter Space themed mask contest at the Chadron Public Library.
1:00 p.m. – Visit one of Chadron’s great restaurants for lunch.
1:00 – 4:00 p.m. – Check out the Museum of the Fur Trade, Mari Sandoz Center, or visit Special Effects from Space Exhibit at the college.
4:00 p.m. – See a NASA Space suit and have your picture taken on the moon at the Chadron Public Library.
6:00 p.m. – Head out for supper and at one of the great local establishments, Like Wilds Bar and Grill or The Ridge in our historic downtown district.
(If you’re in town Sunday, August 20th swing by the Holiday Inn Express for the Solar Eclipse Market from 2:00 – 7:00 p.m.)


Crawford: Partial begins 10:26 am Total begins: 11:48 am
8:00 a.m. – Start your day off with a small town Pancake Feed fundraiser on the Rodeo building on the west end of the Crawford city park.
9:00 – 10:00 a.m. – Spend sometime in the park and be sure to stop at the information booth for all the latest happenings.
10:00 – 11:00 a.m. – Scout out your prime viewing location, perhaps the rodeo grounds at the city park, the historic parade grounds of Fort Robinson. Better yet, try the site of the Red Cloud agency or former German P.O.W. camp south of the highway.
1:00 p.m. – Have lunch at the restaurant lodge at Fort Robinson, or stop by the Legend Buttes Golf course for a lunch with a view.
2:00 – 4:00 p.m. – Head into Chadron for an afternoon of festivities at the Chadron Public Library.
6:00 p.m. – For supper, dine in Chadron or head back to Crawford for excellent service at the R Bar or fried chicken at Staab’s drive in!


Harrison: Partial begins: 10:25 am Total begins: 11:47 am
7:30 a.m. – Start your day with Breakfast and coffee at the Historic Harrison House Hotel
10:25 a.m. – Partial Eclipse Begins

11:48 a.m. – Total Solar Eclipse Begins, lasting about 2 mins
1:14 p.m. – Solar Eclipse Ends
12:15 p.m. –  After the total Solar Eclipse is over make your way back into Harrison for lunch at the Longhorn or the Village Barn Café.
1:30 p.m. – Then browse the Street Vendors set up just east of Main St. at 2nd & Ann Streets.
2:15 p.m. – When you’re finished with the street fair head around the corner and visit the Sioux county Museum and all five buildings that help share the history of the area.
4:15 p.m. – Then take some time to get away from town and head north to Coffee Park on Sowbelly Canyon road or get way out there and visit the historic Montrose church and Warbonnet Memorial.
5:30 p.m. – Head back into town for supper at the Longhorn and have the famous Longhorn Burger and cool off with a drink in Nebraska’s Top Town, the highest elevated town in Nebraska.


8:30 a.m. – Make your way to Agate Fossil Beds for a morning of activities and prime viewing!
9:00 a.m. – Sun Print Paper activity
10:00 a.m. – Kelly Looking Horse-Native American Perspective
10:25 a.m. – Partial Eclipse Begins
11:48 a.m. – Total Solar Eclipse Begins, lasting about 2 mins
1:14 p.m. – Solar Eclipse Ends

Northwest Nebraska Day Trips: 

*Take these trips on the days leading up to or following the Solar Eclipse event.

Fossil Tour:
Start of your day with a hike on the Toadstool Loop then head around to the Hudson-Meng Education and Research Center at about 10 am. Spend some time there and then take an early lunch at High Plains Homestead on your back to Crawford. Be sure to wander around the Homestead and check out all the great buildings and treasures. After lunch, head to Fort Robinson and visit the Trailside Museum and see the two Mammoths whose tusks are locked together! When you are done at the Trailside Museum put your driving shades on and head west to the Agate Fossil Beds National Monument where you’ll find several miles of trails and a great visitor center. Access to all of Agate is completely free! When your done for the day, head back to Nebraska’s top town, Harrison, and unwind with some good food and a drink at the Village Barn or the Longhorn Bar & Grill.

Museum Tour:
Start you day off with the Museum of the Fur Trade! This world class, climate controlled museum illustrates some of the areas earliest history revolving around the fur trade, the mountain man, and the Native Americans of the Great Plains. Plus, they helped provide part of the costume for Hollywood film The Revenant. Then move onto the Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center and learn about the life and times of renowned Sandhills author, Mari Sandoz. Plus, visit the C. F. Coffee Gallery and learn more about ranching here in the High Plains! Then stop in for lunch at The Ridge in Chadron for some good grill style food or the Country Kitchen of Chadron for some good home-style cooking! Then buckle up and take off for the west and see the Nebraska State Historical Societies museum at Fort Robinson State Park. Here you can see artifacts from the forts many years of service and the roll that it played in Indian affairs, all the way to WWII. Take a moment then and meander over to the Trailside Museum while you are there and check the wooly mammoths whose tucks are locked together for eternity. When you are finished at the Fort, head west to Nebraska’s top town, Harrison, and see the Sioux county museum. The museum consist of 5 buildings, including the Historic newspaper building, switchboard house, and a former rural school house. The catch supper at the Longhorn or the Village Barn in Harrison before returning to your lodging for the night.

Historic Sites Tour:
You’ll want a map for these, so be sure and stop in the Chadron Chamber and Visitor Center and pick one up! We will be glad to help you pick your stops and route while you’re here, but here are just a few of the things you may want to see.
-Museum of the Fur Trade, Bordeaux Trading Post
-Chadron State College, est. 1911
-The Blaine Hotel, start point of Chadron-Chicago cowboy race
-Historic Downtown Chadron, Walking tour available
-Council Tree, Old Highway 20
-Fort Robinson State Park
-Cheyanne Outbreak, Smiley Canyon
-Warbonnet and Yellow Hair Monument
-Coffee Siding
-Nebraska’s Top Town, Harrison

Natural Wonders I tour:
You’ll want a map for these, so be sure and stop in the Chadron Chamber and Visitor Center and pick one up! Most all of these roads are not paved and gravel may be very minimal on some. Please use extreme caution on all county roads but enjoy the view. Please note that road conditions can change quickly and are greatly affected by the weather.

Natural Wonders Tour part one is primarily in central Dawes County. Start out on Bordeaux road, head south from Highway 20. Take a stop at The Cliffs campground before continuing on to table road where you’ll head west, cross highway 385 and continue on to Dead horse road. Head back to the north and follow it back through the pines and be sure to stop at the Coffee Mill Butte Trail head for some spectacular views! When you reach Highway 20, cross it and follow the Airport road to the west and follow it back to the Highway. From there head west to the Whitney Spur and follow to Whitney. Once in Whitney, take a left at the 4way stop and stay on North Shore Drive and see Whitney Lake. Then head north to Whitney Lake Road and go west. Follow it back around to the south where you’ll come to highway 20. Turn right and follow Highway 20 to Squaw Creek Road, travel south to West Ash and then head back to the east. Follow back into the pines and take a break in the beautiful campground and picnic areas on West Ash. Continue up to Table road and head east. When you reach Highway 385 go north and return to Chadron.


Natural Wonders II tour:
You’ll want a map for these, so be sure and stop in the Chadron Chamber and Visitor Center and pick one up! Most all of these roads are not paved and gravel may be very minimal on some. Please use extreme caution on all county roads but enjoy the view. Please note that road conditions can change quickly and are greatly affected by the weather.

Natural Wonder Tour II travels through southern Dawes County as well as Central and Northern Sioux County. From Chadron, head south on highway 385 to Dunlap Road, turn right and follow to Box Butte Reservoir. Stop in enjoy the lake for a moment before getting back in your car and traveling down River Road to Marsland. Cross the highway and continue up river road towards Agate Fossil Beds National Monument. Stop at the visitor center or continue to highway 29. Head North towards Harrison, cross Highway 20 and head up Sowbelly Canyon, make a stop in Coffee Park and hear Sowbelly creek babble by. Then continue on and head up pants butte road to Montrose road, turn east and head to the historic Montrose church and Warbonnet Memorial. Head back south on hat Creek road to Orella Road, go east until you meet toadstool road. Go south on toadstool until you reach the entrance to Toadstool Park, go in, take the mile loop hike and enjoy a view like you’ve never seen before! Come back to Toadstool road and head south again. At Sandcreek Road, go west and follow to the High Plains Homestead. Stop and browse and around and get yourself a slice of pie at the Cook Shack before going on to Hudson Meng! Make sure and look at the huge expanse in the valley below! Then go on into Hudson-Meng and let one of the Rangers share their knowledge with you. Continue on back to Toadstool road and go on to Crawford, pass through town and head up Smiley Canyon at Fort Robinson State Park where you’ll find the perfect little road nestled in the canyon. Take time to enjoy the views and if you can try and spot the remains of some old cars and truck that have fallen off the road in days gone by. Then as you approach Highway 20, turn left and head back down to White River Road. Follow the White River Road to the historic community of Glen before continuing on to Andrews road and returning to Highway 20. From there, head into Harrison for a bite to eat or head back down to Crawford for some delicious fried chicken at Staab’s Drive-in followed by a drink at local watering hole, the R Bar.

Guided Trip opportunities:
Horizons Without Bounds, LLC. 
Bill Burdett
Phone: (308)379-3261
*Providing tours to farms, ranches, vistas, and other attractions with special tours for the 2017 National Solar Eclipse in our area.