Solar eclipse will be stunning spectacle

WASHINGTON — On Aug. 21, there will be a total solar eclipse visible across the entire continental United States in a very narrow swath. The rest of the country will see a partial solar eclipse.

Millions of people will be turning their gaze skyward to see this stunning spectacle from work, their homes, on the open road and in the air. Now is the time to start making your preparations to safely observe the eclipse.

Observing the solar eclipse safely is the number one concern of everyone. Failure to do so can result in permanent eye damage. Parents must ensure their children are safely observing the eclipse.

NASA has a website dedicated to the solar eclipse that provides safe viewing tips for the public as well as a comprehensive explanation, history and science of total solar eclipses. NASA has also put together an events section where you can find out if a library, museum, NASA or other entity is hosting an event in your area.

For the D.C. area, we will experience a partial solar eclipse from about 79 percent of the sun obscured to more than 90 percent. The farther south you are, the more the sun will be obscured. You can find out the particulars for your location by looking at this Google map provided by NASA.

Just zoom in to your location and click to get your particulars for the eclipse.

There are professionally led tours for the eclipse which you may be interested in, although they may be booked up. You can search for them online.

I’ll have more information on D.C.-area eclipse events as we get closer to August.

I will be at a totality location hoping to get some great pics to share with you. My only total solar eclipse viewing was in February 1998, on board a cruise ship as part of the tour staff.

I can hardly wait to stand in the moon’s shadow again.

Follow Greg Redfern’s daily blog to keep up with the latest news in astronomy and space exploration. You can email him at

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