Safely View the Upcoming Solar Eclipse with Help of Fairfax County Park Authority

Seventeen days from now, a lot of people are going to be staring up at the sky.

Locally, the Fairfax County Park Authority wants to make sure they’re doing it safely.

The first total solar eclipse over the continental United States in 38 years will reach us at 2:42 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 21. In Fairfax County, about 80 percent of the sun will be blocked by moon. The full solar eclipse will be taking place at that time in South Carolina.

NASA warns that the only safe way to view the sun, even when it is partially eclipsed, is with the use of special-purpose solar filters or hand-held solar viewers. The American Astronomical Society has provided a list of reputable vendors for these glasses.

Every child who attended one of the Park Authority’s Adventures Away Rec-PAC camps this week received a pair of solar-viewing glasses courtesy the Fairfax County Park Foundation. Remaining glasses will be made available to the public at select parks, where a donation can help cover the costs.

The eclipse can also be viewed, with your back to it, by using a pinhole projector. The Park Authority is offering some programming to teach people how to make these.

Fairfax County also has numerous events planned for watching the eclipse, including on Burke Lake and Lake Accotink.

Graphic via NASA

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