Anywhere you looked in Reston and Herndon this afternoon, there were people wearing special glasses and looking into the sun as the first nationwide solar eclipse in decades passed over.
In our area, about 82 percent of the sun was blocked out at the event’s peak, around 2:42 p.m. Monday. Gathering spots across the area were filled with people enjoying the rare celestial event.
At Herndon High School, community members began lining up at 8 a.m. to get a free pair of eclipse-viewing safety glasses. The line wound around the school campus by the time their official eclipse party began at noon, and Principal Liz Noto said the 1,000 glasses the school had been given by Goddard Space Flight Center were gone by about 12:20.
“I did not realize how many people would be in need of glasses,” Noto said. “I thought we’d have extra.”
Those who were lucky enough to get glasses staked places on the school’s lawns and watched the moon pass in front of the sun. Ann Erickson, of Reston, said she remembered seeing an eclipse when she was a little girl in Arkansas, but that was “long ago.”
“If the clouds would go away, that would be nice,” Erickson said as she and her friends sat outside the school. “We just decided we’d all come and see it together, and it will be fun.”
At Reston Town Center, buildings emptied as hundreds of people gathered in common places to watch the show. Jorge Sanchez, of Sterling, and his wife, Melissa, were in Town Square Park wearing special eclipse-themed T-shirts.
“Ever since 2015, when I read in the news there would be an eclipse, I was like, ‘Yeah, yeah, can’t wait for it,'” he said. “We ordered some funny shirts. My wife, she’s kind of along for the ride — she’s a good sport.”
Everyone's a kid again today at Reston Town Center for #Eclipse2017 https://t.co/nW2nbKx2RI
— Dave Emke (@emkedave) August 21, 2017
Several dozen employees from Appian were in Town Square Park, laughing and watching the eclipse through not just glasses, but through a colander and pinhole projectors made from shoeboxes and cereal boxes, among other means. Lang Ly, Appian’s senior vice president of strategy, said the crew had been readying themselves for the outing for quite a while.
“It’s a company team-building event. Last Wednesday, we got together and did a little ‘brown bag’ to create little solar-eclipse viewers,” Ly said. “We had a lot of fun. We’re a bunch of geeks.”
The next solar eclipse to pass across the United States will take place April 8, 2024. Reston will be at about 90 percent totality for that event.
Enjoy the Eclipse! — Remember to keep your eyes safe as you check out the celestial display this afternoon. If you take any photos during the event, share them with us at [email protected] and we will consider publishing them this afternoon. [Fairfax County/YouTube]
New Labor Day Pool Hours — Lake Audubon, Lake Newport, North Shore and Ridge Heights pools will be open Labor Day weekend, until 7 p.m. each day. [Reston Association]
In-Custody Death at Adult Detention Center — A 46-year-old male inmate was found unresponsive at about 7:30 p.m. Friday, and he was pronounced dead about 45 minutes later at Fairfax Hospital. An investigation is underway. [Fairfax County Police Department]
School Board Candidates’ Forum This Week — A special election to fill the vacant At-Large seat on the Fairfax County School Board is Aug. 29. A candidate forum, hosted by the League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area, is scheduled for Wednesday at 7 p.m. at McLean High School. [LWVFA]
Reston Station Building Lights Get Thumbs Up — Last week, we asked what you think about the new lighting on the 1900 Metro Plaza building. Nearly three-fifths of our readers said they like the color-changing display; while only about a quarter said they don’t. [Reston Now]
Library Book Sale This Weekend — The Friends of the Reston Regional Library back-to-school book sale began Thursday and will last through Sunday. All books were donated, and all proceeds benefit the library and library programs. [Friends of the Reston Regional Library]
Registration Underway for Herndon Parks Programs — Town of Herndon residents can now sign up for fall classes from the town’s Parks and Recreation Department. Others can start signing up Aug. 22. [Herndon Parks & Rec]
Reston Brothers Develop Anti-Stress Powder — Christian, Mark and Paul D’Andrea have developed StressKiller, a powdered drink mix featuring stress-relief supplements. GNC has signed on to sell the product, as has a major drugstore chain. [Washington Business Journal]
Solar Eclipse is Monday — The Fairfax County Park Authority says if you want to enjoy the eclipse as much as possible, you should arrive at viewing locations early and be ready with your eyewear. [Fairfax County Park Authority]
Reston Residents Among Injured in Charlottesville Attack — Two Reston women were struck by the vehicle that crashed into a crowd of protesters during the weekend’s violent clashes in Charlottesville, a friend of theirs told a DC news crew. [NBC Washington]
No More Eclipse Glasses at Library — “Due to extraordinary demand,” Fairfax County libraries are no longer able to provide glasses for next week’s solar eclipse. [Fairfax County]
Special Eclipse Event at Herndon High — There will be an “eclipse party” Monday at Herndon High School, though, where up to 1,000 pairs of the eclipse glasses will be available. Meals will also be provided at a cost of $2 for adults, free for students. [Herndon High School]
Popular Local Blog Celebrates 10 Years — Restonian has been satirically covering the comings and goings of the community since August 2007. This week, it provides a retrospective on all that’s happened in the past decade. [Restonian]
Last Day To Vote for Business Awards — The ballot for the 2017 Best Reston Business Awards went out to our email subscribers for the final time Monday afternoon, and they have until midnight tonight to fill it out. Winners will be announced Wednesday. [Reston Now]
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