The solar eclipse is next week, and as excitement builds to witness this once (or twice) in a lifetime event, there’s a few things you should keep in mind as the date approaches. Everything you need to know about the eclipse in Fredericksburg, including what time it happens, the weather forecast, safety tips, where you can get special glasses, and more is below.
What time will it happen, and how much of the sun will be covered? On Aug. 21 at about 2:42 p.m., about 86 percent of the sun will be covered up by the moon in the Fredericksburg area. Some part of the sun will be covered from 1:17 p.m. until 4:02 p.m. (For more local news, click here to sign up for real-time news alerts. Also, like us on Facebook, and if you have an iPhone, click here to get the free Patch iPhone app.)
Why is this such a big deal? It will be the first total solar eclipse to pass through the continental United States in 38 years. The next one will happen just seven years from now in 2024. (For more local news, click here to sign up for real-time news alerts. Also, like us on Facebook, and if you have an iPhone, click here to get the free Patch iPhone app.)
Total Solar Eclipse 2017: Best Spots To See It In Virginia, DC
What’s the weather forecast looking like for that day? That’s a bit tricky, but now that we’re within 15 days of the eclipse, a clearer picture is starting to materialize. The Capital Weather Gang reports that there is a “high chance of typical afternoon thunderstorms in the Southeast,” although there’s no telling when they will pop up during the day if they do occur.
What should I know about safety during the eclipse? Even during an eclipse, you should never, ever, ever look at the sun directly, as it will cause permanent damage to your eyes. The only exception is the few moments when the sun is completely covered by the moon in the “band of totality.” Since we aren’t located in the band of totality, that doesn’t apply to us.
Special glasses are available to view the sun during the eclipse. Only use those, or a pinhole projector, to view the solar eclipse.
Where can I get these special glasses? The Park Foundation will provide a limited number of solar viewing glasses, which will be distributed at the programs. These glasses are important to avoid severe eye damage while watching the eclipse. You should never stare directly at the sun, even during an eclipse, without special glasses.
If you’d like to just order them, they’re available on Amazon for about $15 each. However, be warned: some glasses are counterfeit or at least simply not certified for eclipse viewing, and you could damage your eyes by using them.
Just because they’re stamped with an ISO seal, indicating they comply with standards set by the International Organization for Standardization, that doesn’t mean they’re safe as anyone can put that stamp on them.
Reports have emerged that companies have been printing the ISO logo and certification label on fake eclipse glasses to make a quick buck. Some are even putting falsified test results on their websites. The American Astronomical Society has posted a list of vendors that are approved to produce eclipse glasses.