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Rare total solar eclipse should be visible in Virginia on April 8: How to safely take it in

Crystal Graham
children viewing solar eclipse with viewing glasses
Image courtesy Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation

A total solar eclipse will take place across North America on April 8, and Virginia State Parks is providing education and backdrops to take in the rare event.

On April 8, the skies will offer a total solar eclipse – the last solar eclipse visible from the contiguous United States until 2044.

In Augusta County, the eclipse should start around 2 p.m. and end at 4:30 p.m.

Enter your address to find when you will see the eclipse.

The solar eclipse is a natural phenomenon where the moon passes between the Earth and the sun, casting its shadow on Earth.

With 42 state parks across Virginia, visitors will have opportunities to find the perfect spot to witness the eclipse.

To enhance the viewing experience, Virginia State Parks will host educational programs led by knowledgeable park rangers.

Some parks are offering eclipse events as early as March 23, giving visitors the chance to learn how to be a safe observer, explore the science behind the eclipse and in some cases, make pinhole viewers.

What visitors will see during the solar eclipse depends on the weather and the park’s location.

Many parks, especially those in Southwest Virginia, are expected to experience more than 85 percent sun obscurity, with Wilderness Road experiencing 90 percent.

Visitors to state parks are encouraged to plan ahead and arrive early as parking and viewing areas may fill up quickly.

To ensure guests can view the eclipse safely, parks will have a limited number of solar viewing glasses available for purchase. They will be located in parks’ visitor centers and gift shops.

For more information about viewing locations and educational programs, go to dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/solar-eclipse.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.