Countdown: A month away from the total solar eclipse

(National Science Foundation)

WASHINGTON (WJLA) - The U.S. is one month away from something that hasn’t occurred in 38 years. A total solar eclipse will traverse the lower 48 from Oregon to South Carolina on Monday, Aug. 21.


Our team wanted to put together a resource guide that you can use to help answer some of your questions. If you can’t find what you are looking for, be sure to ask any of the StormWatch7 Team members or check NASA’s main eclipse site here.

When and where can I view the eclipse?

The best views will be along the path of totality. This stretches from Lincoln Beach, Oregon at 9:05 a.m. PDT to Charleston, South Carolina at 2:48 p.m. EDT.

State maps of the eclipse

What does totality mean?

“Totality” is the period during a solar eclipse when the sun’s photosphere is completely covered by the moon. Looking at the maps above, you will be in totality longer the closer you are to the middle of the path. On the edge of the path of totality, the time you will be within the shadow will be shorter.

The D.C. area will not be in totality but will have a partial eclipse. This means the moon will be covering part of the sun, and in our case, it should be around 80 percent.

What will it look like in the D.C. area?

The eclipse will only be a partial one in the D.C. area, with up to 80-90 percent of the sun’s disk covered. At the National Mall, it will be 81 percent. North and east of D.C., Baltimore will have a little less covered at 79.3 percent, but the farther south you travel, more of the sun will be covered. Fredericksburg, Virginia will be slightly higher at 83.5 percent. Even with that much of the sun covered it will still be very bright out.

Be sure to use this map if you plan to travel that week to view it. It gives you a point-by-point reference as to when the partial and total eclipse starts and ends as well as the percent of obscuration, magnitude and even duration of totality.

Total solar eclipse event locations - Visit this page to find out where events are located around the country featuring the eclipse.

When was the last one and when is the next one?

The last time a total eclipse occurred over parts of the lower 48 was in February 1979. Totality stretched over parts of the Pacific Northwest before moving into Canada.

You won’t have to wait nearly as long for the next total solar eclipse to visit the U.S. April 8, 2024 will feature the next one, which will move from Texas into the Ohio Valley and eventually the Northeast.

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