People in Arlington and the Washington, DC area will experience a partial solar eclipse, where the moon passes in front of the sun, on Monday, August 21. The Arlington County Public Health Division is warning residents this week that as the moon’s shadow begins to block the sun’s light, part of the sun’s fiery disk or corona will continue to be visible and can permanently burn the eyes of spectators without proper precautions.
- At no point in the Washington, DC area will anyone be able to safely view the eclipse without using special-purpose solar filters, such as eclipse sunglasses or hand-held solar viewers. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses – even very dark ones – are NOT safe for looking at the sun.
- Looking at the sun without eclipse glasses or solar viewers can permanently burn the retina of the eye. The retina is the inside back layer of your eye which converts light into pictures that your brain uses to interpret what is going on around you.
- An alternative method for safe viewing of the partially eclipsed Sun is pinhole projection. NASA offers a guide for making your own pinhole projector.
- As always, children should always be supervised when using solar filters and pinhole projectors.
- A solar eclipse is one of nature’s most awe-inspiring spectacles. By following these simple rules, you can safely enjoy this incredible event now and have great memories for years to come.
- For further recommendations on how to safely enjoy the solar eclipse, go to:
- For reputable vendors of solar filters and viewers, the American Astronomical Society has a list of reputable vendors at https://eclipse.aas.org/resources/solar-filters.
- NOTE: the eclipse is expected to reach its peak at 2:42 pm when 80% of the sun will be hidden by the moon. In our area, the eclipse is expected to start at 1:17 pm and end at 4:01 pm.