The 2017 Solar Eclipse Tour
5 days - by Air
Price from £2,049.00 per person*
Departs 19th Aug 2017
Single person supplement : £350.00 per person
On 21 August, 2017, the Moon's shadow will trace a path west to east across the continental USA, revealing one of the sky's most majestic spectacles; a total eclipse of the Sun.
This is the Holy Grail for eclipse chasers, the moment when the Moon drifts in front of our nearest star, descending us into darkness as the Sun's light is totally blocked from view. Only when you experience totality will you see Baily's beads, the awesome diamond ring effect, prominences and the spectacular solar corona – all with the naked eye. With the Sun's light diminished, stars and planets also start to appear and local wildlife is tricked into thinking night has descended early, reacting as it would around twilight.
For a total solar eclipse to take place, the Sun, Moon and Earth must be in a straight line. The Earth's and Moon's elliptical orbits and the relatively small size of the Moon's shadow on the Earth's surface means that full solar eclipses happen infrequently and typically require you to travel to see them. When they occur over inhabited parts of the world, they become accessible to many and offer a shared experience that is not to be missed. The last total eclipse of the Sun visible from the USA occurred in 1991 and that was only visible from parts of Hawaii. The last seen from the contiguous states of the USA occurred in 1979. The 2017 total solar eclipse path will cross the USA from the Pacific to the Atlantic coast – the first total solar eclipse to do this since 1918.
To celebrate this rare event, Omega has put together a series of tours which include eclipse–watching as part of the itinerary. We are fortunate to have with us the professional astronomer Dr Lee Sproats, whose vast knowledge and expertise will be invaluable as we attempt to take you as close to the centre–line of the eclipse path as possible.
On this short tour we will watch the eclipse in or near Clarksville. The weather prospects here are still excellent and being close to the point of greatest eclipse, totality will last for a maximum of 2 minutes and 40 seconds. As with all our tours we plan to locate sites as close to the centre–line of the eclipse path as practically possible.
What in heaven are...?
Totality is the part of a total solar eclipse when Sun is hidden from view by the Moon.
Baily's Beads are bright, star–like points of light that occur at the start and end of totality. They occur when bright sunlight shines through low points in the Moon's rugged edge.
The Diamond Ring Effect occurs at the start and end of totality when the last and first bit of sunlight shining past the Moon's edge appears like a brilliant diamond. A glow around the entire circumference of the Moon completes the effect, making it look as if there's an impressive diamond ring hanging in the sky.
Prominences are huge clouds of glowing hydrogen held above the Sun's surface by magnetic forces. The striking thing about them is that they appear with an intense red–pink colour.
The Solar Corona (the Sun's 'crown') is the tenuous outer atmosphere of the Sun. This can only normally be seen by specialist equipment, typically from space. During a total solar eclipse, the corona's beautiful, highly structured glow can be seen surrounding the Sun and extending off into space.
Our Expert Astronomer
Dr Lee Sproats began his lifelong astronomy adventure in 1977 when at the age of 7 he was taken to see Star Wars by his father. Lee's interest in all things astronomical continued and at the age of 14 he obtained an O level in astronomy, later followed by an Honours degree in astronomy at University College London, and then a PhD in astrophysics from the Mullard Space Science Laboratory during which time he used telescopes in Hawaii, Arizona and La Palma. Lee appeared on the BBC 'Sky at Night' programme about Halley's Comet's return from (his then) backyard observatory, and was involved in the live coverage of the Giotto spacecraft's encounter with Halley's Comet in 1986 which was broadcast from the Royal Greenwich Observatory. Having spent time working in the physics department at the University of Surrey, and for a stock market software company, Lee now works for Green Witch Telescopes & Binoculars – one of the UK's leading astronomy retailers. He will accompany the short tour to Nashville and Clarksville.
Please note: Our guest astronomer Dr Lee Sproats has confirmed that he will be available for this tour, but in the extremely unlikely event that he is not able to travel with us, Omega reserves the right to find a substitute .
This tour is organised and operated by Omega Holidays plc ABTA V4782 ATOL 6081
- Return flight from Heathrow Airport to Nashville
- Three nights' hotel accommodation with breakfast†: including
- 1 night at the Hyatt Place Nashville–Opryland
- 2 nights at the Best Western Plus Atrium Inn & Suites, Clarksville
- Expertise of our guest professional astronomer: Dr Lee Sproats
- Half–day city tour of Nashville
- Touring coach throughout
- Services of a professional tour manager
- One piece of hold luggage (20 kg minimum weight allowance)
- All airport taxes, security charges and the government tax on air travel (APD)
- VAT at 20%
*Based on two people sharing a room. Rooms for single person occupancy are offered, subject to availability, at a supplement of £300 for the holiday.
†The choice of foods offered at breakfast varies greatly from hotel to hotel. Breakfast usually consists of a limited selection of cold continental–style choices, though occasionally there may be one or more hot dishes also available.
Flight Details and Departure Information
We are not able to give precise flight information at the present time as airline timetables are not yet available for August 2017; this information will be published in October 2016.
Regional connecting flights should be available, for £200pp return, from Aberdeen, Belfast City, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Leeds Bradford and Newcastle. In the event of an early departure time from Heathrow, these will involve travel the day before departure and an overnight stay at a hotel close to the airport. Full details will be available when timetables are published in October 2016.
Meals and drinks on intercontinental flights are included.
Visas are no longer mandatory in all cases for British Citizens when visiting the USA. The USA operates a Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and the basic information is below, but you must verify this information for yourself on the USA visa waiver website: http://www.cbp.gov/travel/international–visitors/visa–waiver–program
Visitors can travel to the USA under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) if they are citizens of the United Kingdom, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, Chile, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, or Switzerland, and travelling on a valid, full–validity, machine–readable or e–passport with an electronic chip. The date on which your passport was issued is an important factor in determining whether your passport will be acceptable for visa–free travel.
You do not qualify for visa–free travel if:
- your United Kingdom Passport says that you are anything other than a British Citizen
- (e.g. British Subject, British Dependent Territories Citizen, British Overseas Citizen, British National (Overseas) Citizen, or British Protected Person)
- your passport states that the holder has Right of Abode or indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom
- you plan to study, work or remain in the United States for more than 90 days
- you have been arrested, even if the arrest did not result in a criminal conviction
- you have a criminal record (the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act does not apply to U.S. visa law)
- you have a serious communicable physical illness, or a mental illness which puts others at risk
- you have been refused admission to or been deported from the United States, or have previously overstayed on the VWP
Once you have confirmed your eligibility to travel under the Visa Waiver Program, you must apply for authorization to travel to the United States on the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), the electronic version of a visa. This must be done at least 72 hours before travel, but preferably as soon as you have confirmation of your travel plans. There is a $14 fee per person for this service. Once an ESTA is issued it is valid for two years, or until your passport expires if sooner, and allows multiple entries into the USA during this time. Please visit https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov to apply.
If your passport is not suitable or if any of the above exclusions apply, you must apply for a visa in the traditional way from the U.S. Embassy in London. This can be done online at http://london.usembassy.gov/visas.html. A successful visa application is not guaranteed, and there may be no reason given for a refusal.
Saturday 19 August: Fly Heathrow → Nashville
Check in at Heathrow Airport for the flight to Nashville (for connecting regional flights see tab).On arrival you will be met by your tour manager and transferred to your hotel for your overnight stay. This evening we will meet our fellow passengers and your guest astronomer Dr Lee Sproats and enjoy a pre–eclipse presentation
Sunday 20 August: Nashville → Clarksville (50 miles)
After breakfast we embark on a half–day city tour of Nashville including the Country Music Hall of Fame, Printers Alley, Music Row and a drive past the homes of country greats such as Essy Arnold, Minnie Pearl and Hank Williams. In the afternoon we transfer to Clarksville where you will stay for the next two nights.
Monday 21 August: Clarksville - The Eclipse
Eclipse–watching today. We will endeavour to take you as close as possible to the centre–line of the eclipse's path in order to get the most dramatic experience of totality.
Tuesday 22 August: Clarksville → Nashville → Flight home
The morning will be at leisure until it is time to transfer to Nashville airport for your overnight flight back to the UK.
Wednesday 23 August: Arrive UK
Passengers with connecting flights to other regional airports can transfer to the appropriate terminal for the final leg of the journey.
Please note that this is a provisional itinerary and is subject to change.
Here are some example hotels or similar ones that we use for this break, actual availability may change with the travel date you choose.
Some hotels have an additional supplement per person, as shown below. Supplements are stated for the break (not per night)
|Staying at Hyatt Place Nashville Opryland, Nashville and the Best Western Plus Atrium Inn & Suites, Clarksville|
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