See How America Celebrated the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse
Madisonville, TennesseeSquint a little, and this might have looked like an ordinary day south of Knoxville, Tennessee—but at 2:31 p.m., all semblance of normalcy had fled with the afternoon sun.
The total solar eclipse, the first in nearly a century to traverse the entire continental U.S., threw normally quiet east Tennessee into jubilant chaos. The nearby town of Sweetwater had braced for its population to more than double, thanks to thousands of out-of-towners eager to stare at the sun. Hotels had been booked up for months; local schools have closed for the day. (See the most mesmerizing pictures of the eclipse.)
Some entrepreneurial landowners offered up their hayfields and front lawns for sky-watchers—for a price. One high school we drove