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Posted on: August 10, 2017

Tips for Safely Experiencing the Solar Eclipse in Loudoun

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On Monday, August 21, 2017, day will turn into night, as a rare solar eclipse is seen in Loudoun County. The eclipse begins in Loudoun at 1:16 p.m. and ends at 4:00 p.m., with maximum solar coverage -- estimated at 81.4 percent -- occurring at 2:41 p.m.

In Loudoun County, which is outside the “totality” area, always use a safe solar filter -- “eclipse glasses” or a hand-held solar viewer -- to view the sun directly.  Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun.

Be wary of “knockoff” eclipse glasses: make sure you get certified viewers by purchasing them from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) at https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety

Other tips from NASA:
  • Stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking up at the bright sun. After looking at the sun, turn away and remove your filter — do not remove it while looking at the sun. 
  • Make sure that children are using solar filters and are closely supervised.
  • Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device. Do not look at the sun through a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewer — the concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eye(s), causing serious injury. 
  • If you normally wear eyeglasses, keep them on. Put your eclipse glasses on over them, or hold your handheld viewer in front of them. 
The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office reminds residents seeking a location to view the eclipse to never stop along a public roadway or enter onto a property without the permission of the owner.

To safely experience the eclipse, you can visit two Loudoun County Public Library locations for special events on August 21. At Lovettsville Library, “The Great American Eclipse Viewing” with NASA Solar System Ambassador, Mary Beth Stoddard, will take place at 1:30 p.m. Residents can watch the eclipse with Stoddard’s expert guidance.  At Gum Spring Library, the eclipse will be live streamed from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., thanks to the Eclipse Ballooning Project. For more LPCL eclipse events, visit library.loudoun.gov.
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