In most other parts of the country, a partial solar eclipse will be visible, he said.
Scientists urge people to wear protective glasses when viewing a solar eclipse.
Bill Kramer, who runs a website geared toward eclipse chasers, said the crowds could be "more akin to a county fair than a gathering of scientists and astronomers."
"A solar eclipse is a very public event and does not require a tremendous amount of technical support — except to be at the right place at the right time," Kramer said in an email.
Hopkinsville officials are talking about setting aside viewing areas, Cook said. Parks and a football field are among the possibilities. Seminars featuring astronomers in the days beforehand are being discussed.
In one ironic twist, the solar eclipse will share the same Aug. 21 date as a popular piece of local folklore — when a family claimed to see a space ship with aliens land near their home in 1955. The family's claims are kept alive in the Little Green Men festival near the eclipse-viewing spot.
"It kind of gave me the chills when I saw the date," Cook said.
Meanwhile, local county magistrate Mark Cansler, said he wants to be accommodating but hopes that designated viewing areas are created to keep visitors from trampling through yards and farms. He lives and farms in the area.
"I don't think people would want large groups setting up camp in their yards," he said. "If we have crops out there, we wouldn't want people running over them."
Tammy Hale, who lives near what will be the most prime viewing area, was asked if she would charge visitors to park on her property.
"Why?" she quickly replied. Her husband, Tim, added, "Depends on how bad we're hurting for money."
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