NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Mother Nature may have been in charge of what happened in the sky during the total solar eclipse, but Nissan was in charge of what happened on the ground at Nissan Stadium on August 21.
On this day, Tennessee had a new claim to fame - a total solar eclipse! Where everyone stopped what they were doing to be awe-stuck for up to two-and-a half minutes of totality! The last time a total solar eclipse took place was on February 26, 1979 and its path clipped the northwestern region of the U.S. Those who have already seen a total eclipse call it a transcendent, profound and transformative experience. For the first time in more than 500 years, the skies over Nashville went completely dark in the middle of the day on Monday.
Nissan executives and their families enjoy an eclipse viewing party Monday at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Schenk Photography, Lynne McCracken)
The Nissan family outing treated everyone to hamburgers & hot dogs with all the trimmings, including themed snacks of Sun Chips and sweet treats including Moon Pies, Starbursts and Milky Way Bars. There were lots of fun activities such as corn hole, green screen booth and music about the sun and moon that included "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and "Here Comes the Sun." Titans mascot, T-Rac entertained everyone with his fun antics and Titans cheerleaders signed autographs and posed for pictures.
"Nashville is our home, the Titans are our home team and we love being here at Nissan stadium," said Erich Marx, director of marketing communications at Nissan North America. "Whether we are watching a game, attending a concert, holding team-building meetings... or even bringing our families out for the 2017 eclipse. Nissan Stadium is our home away from home and we are having a great time."
There are many kinds of eclipses - total solar, partial solar, annular, and lunar, to name the most common few. Partial eclipses are fairly common, and you very well may have been a part of one of those. Lunar eclipses happen at night, and they can be seen by half the world at the same time. Annular eclipses are much rarer, but you need to have special filters to see them, so many people don't even know they're going on. But a total eclipse -- these are extremely rare and are the kings of eclipses!
"This eclipse has captivated our entire city and a large part of our country and it's great to host Nissan for such a fun event at Nissan Stadium," said Titans Vice President of Marketing and Broadcast & Digital Rights, Ralph Ockenfels. "It's great to see the Nissan employees and their family members out here enjoying everything the stadium has to offer. We could not be more proud of our partnership!"
Just 10 states had the rare chance to view the rare phenomenon — a total solar eclipse in its full totality. Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina were in the direct path of the sky event which the moon passes over the sun and eventually blocks its light, bringing complete darkness to the sky for about two and a half minutes.
Why all the fuss about the 2017 event? While Nashville has not seen a total eclipse in modern history, other parts of Tennessee have; The last total visible from anywhere in Tennessee nicked the upper east corner of the state late in the afternoon of August 7, 1869. The next total solar eclipse will take place on April 8, 2024, and will cross through 13 states - Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Only folks in northern Alaska will see the total solar eclipse that follows, which will occur on March 20, 2033. For another eclipse similar to this year's, one that moves from coast to coast, you will have to wait until August 12, 2045.
Titans players take in the solar eclipse following Monday's practice at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Gary Glenn, Schenk Photography)