Mar 22, 2024 - News

What to know about the solar eclipse in D.C.

People sit in the grass in front of the Washington Monument watching an eclipse.

Eclipse viewers on the National Mall in 2017. Photo: Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Washingtonians will be able to catch a glimpse of the solar eclipse on Monday April 8, but they'll have to join the Great Eclipse Migration if they want a full view.

Why it matters: If you miss this one, you'll have to wait until 2044 to spot a total solar eclipse in the U.S.

The big picture: Millions of people with eclipse fever are planning to travel to areas with the best views, and businesses are cashing in on the hype, writes Axios' Jacob Knutson.

State of play: The moon's shadow will pass northeast across North America — but because D.C. isn't on the path of totality, it will reach only 87.4% of lunar coverage, aka a partial eclipse.

  • The partial eclipse will be visible here from 2:04pm to 4:32pm, with the greatest coverage at 3:20pm, per NASA's tracking tool.
<span style="display: block;text-align: center;">Path of the April 8, 2024 eclipse</span>
Data: NASA. Map: Erin Davis

Die-hard eclipse heads set on seeing the real deal can hit the road — the closest locations in the path of totality are Erie, Pa., and Cleveland, Oh., reports Washingtonian.

  • If you're traveling, book ASAP: Both Erie and Cleveland are seeing skyrocketing demand for lodging from eclipse-rs.
  • Snagging an RV or camping is also an option, although sites are likely filling up fast.

Zoom in: If you're hanging here, the Air and Space Museum is hosting an eclipse festival on the National Mall from 12pm to 4pm, with telescopes for gazing and activities. The museum will also host a viewing at its Udvar-Hazy Center from 2pm to 4pm.

  • Feeling tipsy eclipse-y? Hotel Zena's rooftop is also hosting a party (2pm-6pm).

Yes, but: There's a reason the song isn't called "Partial Eclipse of the Heart."

  • Around D.C. we'll see part of the sun covered by the moon and slightly darker skies, but it's nothing compared to totality, which eclipse watchers describe as life-changing, Axios' Andrew Freedman tells us.
  • Within the totality region, the sky will darken, and the sun's outer atmosphere, called the corona, will become visible. It brings one a sense of being a part of space.
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