It’s going to be difficult for visitors to find a place to sleep in Linn County, Ore., on Aug. 21, 2017, thanks to the “Great American Eclipse,” the first coast-to-coast solar eclipse in North America since 1918.

Local motels and area campgrounds are already booked as visitors from around the world flock to the area to view a rare solar eclipse that will block the sun’s rays in 10 states, from the Pacific Northwest to the Carolinas.

A solar eclipse is when the sun, moon and earth are directly in line with each other and the moon blocks the sun’s rays for a short time. The last total eclipse in North America was 38 years ago, but it only could be seen in five states.

Oregon and Linn County are in the direct line of sight for the unusual event. Although the eclipse will be partially visible throughout much of the United States, it is best observed within a 67-mile band of the event’s shadow.

“We are seeing an uptick in campground reservations for that time period,” said Brian Carroll, Linn County Parks director. “We’re seeing a huge interest and John Neal, River Bend and Sunnyside Parks are already booked.”

Carroll said his office has received “lots of calls and emails.”

Scientists predict the first shadow from the eclipse will hit Oregon slightly north of Newport about 10:15 a.m. They predict the area will be dark for one minute and 50 seconds.

The mid-valley will provide excellent viewing sites as it moves across Dallas, Albany, Corvallis, Lebanon, Philomath, and Salem starting about 10:17 a.m. and lasting an estimated one minute and 54 seconds.

The epicenter of the eclipse will be Hopkinsville, Ky., where darkness will last two minutes and 40 seconds.

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