Get ready for the Great American Eclipse

NASA photo

On Monday August 21, for the first time in almost a hundred years, a total solar eclipse will cross the U.S. from coast to coast.

Takoma Park is located outside the “band of totality”-the regions of the U.S. that will experience a total solar eclipse-so in Takoma Park you’ll be able to view a partial solar eclipse.

The eclipse will begin at 1:17 p.m. and end at 4:01 p.m.

Locally, the eclipse will peak at 2:24 p.m., when the moon will cover just over eighty percent of the sun.

This solar eclipse is special because it’s only visible in the United States—for the first time since 1776, according to NASA—and because so many states will be able to see it.

There are several viewing parties and events in Montgomery County and the greater Washington D.C. area:

  • In Silver Spring, Montgomery Parks will hold a “Total Eclipse in the Park” event at Martin Luther King Jr. Recreational Park. This is event is free and is from 1:00-4:00 p.m. A limited number of free solar eclipse sunglasses will be available.
  • Chevy Chase Library, Montgomery County Public Libraries. A limited number of viewing glasses will be available.
  • University of Maryland: The Department of Astronomy will have a safe eclipse viewing session.
  • Montgomery College: The Takoma Park Campus will host a viewing event that includes a planetarium show.
  • In Boyds, Montgomery Parks will hold a free Solar Eclipse Party from 12:00-4:00 p.m. at Black Hill Nature Programs. Eclipse glasses will be available as well as other viewing devices.
  • In Washington, D.C., the National Air and Space Museum will have a number of activities the day of the eclipse. Visitors can use solar safe telescopes at the Observatory and pick up solar glasses. The museum also has a make-your-own pinhole eclipse viewer and will live stream the event on screens throughout the building.
  • The National Archives will have a solar telescope available to the public.
  • The National Zoo will have a solar telescope and a limited number of free glasses for viewing.
  • The solar eclipse will also be live streamed all day through its entire duration on NASA’s website, apps and social media.

“The most important consideration when viewing the solar eclipse is safety,” NASA published.

You need to wear protective eye gear when viewing even a partial solar eclipse.

Sunglasses are not enough to protect our eyes from looking directly at the eclipse.

You need NASA-certified eclipse-viewing glasses that meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard, which you will want to check if ordering glasses online.

The American Astronomical Society has provided a list of reputable vendors of eclipse-viewing devices on their website.

Warby Parker is handing out free NASA-certified eclipse-viewing glasses at their store locations in Georgetown, Shaw, Bethesda and Tysons Corner.

Some eclipse-viewing glasses are available at viewing events, and safe glasses can also be found at:

A camera, even a DSLR camera, is not a safe viewing option for the eclipse without a solar filter. Photographing the solar eclipse without a solar filter can damage your eyes and your camera, Nikon published.