Solar Eclipse is Monday, Aug. 21

Posted at 1:30 p.m.

We’re sure you’ve heard by now that a solar eclipse will be visible across the continental U.S. on Monday, Aug. 21.

Solar Eclipse

The eclipse, when the moon will completely cover the sun, will stretch from Lincoln Beach, Ore., to Charleston, S.C. Although Fairfax County is not in the path of the total eclipse, we will be treated to a partial solar eclipse. Our maximum eclipse will be at 2:42 p.m. when the sun will be about 80 percent covered, although some of the eclipse will be visible from 1:17 pm to 4:01 p.m.

Rita Peralta is with the Fairfax County Park Authority, which is hosting several eclipse programs. She says that if you are planning to view the solar eclipse safely, you should wear eclipse glasses and solar viewers that meet the international safety standard.

Wear Proper Eyewear


According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) “Individual and Community Preparedness” eBrief e-newsletter (Aug. 17 edition), you should consider products marked with ISO 12312-2, which means they meet the international safety standard.

Other Safety Tips

  • Use new glasses or viewers.
  • Do not use glasses more than three years old, wrinkled or scratched.
  • Do not use homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses.
  • Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars or other optical device – even when using your eclipse glasses or viewer. Those optical devices concentrate the solar rays, which will damage your eclipse glasses or viewer, and seriously injure your eyes.

You can also watch the solar eclipse live on a NASA webpage. You’ll get to see a wealth of images captured before, during and after the eclipse by 11 spacecraft, at least three NASA aircraft, more than 50 high-altitude balloons, and the astronauts aboard the International Space Station – each offering a unique vantage point for the celestial event.

For more information on the solar eclipse, visit You can also find out more about the eclipse in Fairfax County in this NewsCenter article.

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About Fairfax County Emergency Information

Official emergency information about preparedness, response and recovery from Fairfax County Government.

2 responses to “Solar Eclipse is Monday, Aug. 21”

  1. Anonymous says :

    I notice that you do not give any information about using pinhole cameras. Aren’t these considered safe?

    • Fairfax County Emergency Information says :

      According to the American Astronomical Society (, a convenient method for safe viewing of the partially eclipsed Sun is pinhole projection. You simply pass sunlight through a small opening (for example, a hole punched in an index card) and project an image of the Sun onto a nearby surface (for example, another card, a wall, or the ground).

      Note that pinhole projection does not mean looking at the Sun through a pinhole!