The Sun, the Moon, and Virginia! A Rare Solar Eclipse Encounter


This Monday April 8th, Virginia’s going to be treated to a solar eclipse. Now, while we’re not exactly in the prime spot to see the sun completely hidden (that’s called the path of totality), we’re still in for a pretty good view. Here in Richmond, we’re talking about 83% of the sun being covered by the moon at the peak of the eclipse. That’s happening at 3:18 p.m., but the whole thing kicks off at 2:02 p.m. and wraps up around 4 p.m.

Solar Eclipse Richmond Virginia _RVA Magazine 2024
The total solar eclipse will be visible along a narrow track stretching from Texas to Maine on April 8, 2024. A partial eclipse will be visible throughout all 48 contiguous U.S. states. See more HERE

Why You Should Care

This isn’t just any regular sky-watching day. The next time the U.S. gets a front-row seat to a total solar eclipse will be two decades from now. So, it’s kind of a big deal.

Solar Eclipse Richmond Virginia _RVA Magazine 2024
Data: NASA; Map: Erin Davis, Axios

What’s Happening in Virginia

While Richmond is getting a decent show with 83% coverage, if you’re in Southwest Virginia or up North, you could see up to 90% coverage. And hey, if you’re really up for an adventure, you could drive about seven hours to Columbus, Ohio, where you can experience the total eclipse. 

Solar Eclipse Richmond Virginia_photo by Matt Nelson_RVA Magazine 2024
Photo by Matt Nelson

A Trip Down Memory Lane

This isn’t the first time Richmond has been near the eclipse action. Back in 1970, we had a near-total eclipse with 98% coverage. The Richmond Times Dispatch has a look back HERE.

How to Watch Safely

Now, let’s talk safety because looking directly at the sun, even when it’s mostly covered, is a no-go. Those special eclipse glasses? They’re your best friends for direct viewing. But there’s a fun DIY method too—making a pinhole projector. Just poke a hole in a piece of cardboard, and you can project the sun onto a surface like a sidewalk. During the eclipse, this will show a cool crescent shape instead of the usual circle.

Solar Eclipse Richmond Virginia _RVA Magazine 2024

Where to Join the Fun

There’s a bunch of spots hosting viewing parties. The Science Museum of Virginia is setting up a viewing area from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Virginia Commonwealth University and all 42 Virginia State Parks are getting in on the action too, with events and educational programs. It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn a bit while enjoying the show. 

Eclipse Fever

Excitement is in the air, with a huge 1000% spike in AirBnB searches as people gear up to experience the eclipse. It’s a testament to how these celestial events capture everyone’s imagination.

In a Nutshell

So, whether you’re a hardcore astronomy buff or just looking for a fun way to spend an afternoon, the upcoming eclipse is a can’t-miss event in Richmond. It’s a chance to just enjoy a moment where we all look up and marvel at the wonders of the universe together.

Solar Eclipse Richmond Virginia_photo by Allec Gomes_RVA Magazine 2024
Photo by Allec Gomes

Main photo by Kevin Cosby of 2017 Solar Eclipse shot in Hopkinsville, KY (“Eclipseville”). The Star Regulus can be seen just to the left of the eclipsed sun.

RVA Staff

RVA Staff

Since 2005, the dedicated team at RVA Magazine, known as RVA Staff, has been delivering the cultural news that matters in Richmond, VA. This talented group of professionals is committed to keeping you informed about the events and happenings in the city.

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