The annular eclipse occurs when the moon is at its furthest point from the Earth, appearing such that it is smaller than the sun. The result is that it leaves a ring of light around the edge of the moon.
But because of the county’s viewing angle, officials only expect to see about 40% of the sun covered by the moon’s shadow.
The image will look like “someone took a huge bite out of sun’s disc rather than the crescent shape we saw in 2017 and expect in April 2024,” said Tammy Schwab, manager of education and outreach for the Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA).
A total solar eclipse is expected to pass over North America from Mexico to Maine on April 8, 2024, according to NASA. Fairfax County won’t be in its direct path, but Schwab says about 80% of the sun will be covered, similar to what residents saw during the last total solar eclipse in 2017.
“After the April eclipse it will be another 5 years before we see another one of this magnitude here in Virginia,” Schwab said. “Our programs at Burke Lake Park and the Sully Historic Site will be a great chance to learn about eclipses and how to view them safely from home, in preparation for the April spectacular.”
Events are planned for Saturday at Burke Lake Park (7315 Ox Road in Fairfax Station) and Sully Historic Site (3650 Historic Sully Way in Chantilly). From noon to 2 p.m., experts will be on site as the moon partially eclipses the sun. The cost is $10.
There will also be an event at Historic Huntley, which is located at 6918 Harrison Lane in Groveton, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The cost is $10.
Registration for all events is open online.
The roll-top observatory at Turner Farm Park in Great Falls will also host a viewing event, but it’s already at capacity.
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