Guide to the Great American Solar Eclipse in Richmond

Solar EclipseFamilies in Richmond are in for a rare treat later this month!  On August 21, 2017, United States will fall under the path of a total solar eclipse.  Due to the impact that it will have on states from Oregon to South Carolina, it has been called the Great American Total Solar Eclipse.

So what is a total solar eclipse?  A total solar eclipse is when the sun disappears entirely behind the moon causing the skies to darken, temperatures to drop rapidly, and revealing large streamers of light around the silhouette of the moon.  The last time that a total solar eclipse crossed the country from coast to coast was on June 8, 1918.  Make sure your family does not miss out on this unique and rare event!

Solar Eclipse in Richmond

While the total solar eclipse will be occurring further south, Richmond will be getting a partial solar eclipse.  The magnitude of the solar eclipse will be 0.88 which means that 88% of the Sun’s diameter will be covered by the Moon.  It is currently estimated that the eclipse will start in Richmond at 1:18 pm on August 21, 2017 and end at 4:30 pm.  The height of the event will be at 2:44 pm.

What Do I Need to Watch?

The only safe way to directly look at the eclipse would be through solar viewing glasses.  Please note that currently only four companies sell these solar viewing glasses that meet international standards.  The four companies are:

Please note that sunglasses cannot be used in place of solar viewing glasses.  Always remember that looking directly at the sun (even during partial solar eclipse) can cause serious eye damage.  Viewing the eclipse through unfiltered devices like camera and telescopes can also cause harm.

Another safe way to view the eclipse would be to use a pinhole camera.  It is simple to make and you would most likely have the parts already at home.  Click here for NASA’s great tutorial on making a pinhole camera.

Solar Eclipse Local Events and Resources

FREE Glasses

Henrico Libraries

Limited Quantities of safety solar glasses will be available at all HPCL locations.  Due to the high demand, the glasses may be restricted to one per family and the distribution of glass will begin on August 21 at 1:30 pm.  Click here for a list of the Henrico County Public Library locations.


Richmond Public Library – Main Library

Stop by their Solar Eclipse Watch Party and receive special solar eclipse viewing glasses!  Click here for more information.


Appomattox Regional Library System

Solar eclipse glasses will be available at McKenny Library.


Science Museum of Virginia

The first 500 guests will receive free eclipse viewing glasses and an eclipse t-shirt with Museum admission.  Click here for more information.

** You can also purchase glasses from local stores such as Home Depot and Lowe’s. **



Deep Run Park

Come watch the Solar Eclipse at the park! We’ll have glasses to watch the eclipse safely (while supplies last), music, activities, and you can also purchase popsicles from King Of Pops – Richmond.  Event will be held on the soccer fields at the back of Deep Run Park.  (2 pm – 4 pm on 8/21)
Cost: Free

Henrico Libraries

Glen Allen, Libbie Mill, North Park, Twin Hickory, and Varina Libraries will host Eclipse Parties (2 – 3:30 pm on 8/21/17)where Henrico residents of all ages can learn about the science behind eclipses, and pick up a pair of glasses to safely view the eclipse while supplies last, courtesy of NASA @ My Library.

  • At the Libbie Mill library’s Eclipse Party, librarians are planning to make a giant solar pinhole viewer, which will project an enlarged image of the eclipse, as well as hosting a live stream of the eclipse from the NASA feed, a UV bead bracelet making activity using supplies from NASA @ My Library, and various other activities for younger children. 
  • Varina Library is planning to host STEM crafts for children and teens at their eclipse party, including creating sundials for children, and making solar ovens and spectroscopes, for teens.  Varina’s adult patrons can enjoy a display of astronomy books related to the eclipse, and patrons of all ages are welcome to view the NASA live stream of the eclipse, plus space-themed movie screenings, and a large-scale, wall-mounted map of the eclipse path. 
  • At Twin Hickory library, patrons will be able to view the NASA live stream of the eclipse, and children and teens can create constellations out of marshmallows and tooth picks, make a sky wheel, and make a planetary orbit craft.  Patrons will also be able to use a NASA @ My Library-provided scale model of the eclipse made from yardsticks and rubber balls to understand the science behind eclipses.
  • Glen Allen and North Park Libraries are also planning family-friendly activities for the eclipse, and will live stream the NASA eclipse coverage as well.

Cost: FREE

McKenney Library

The library will be offering activities and a craft for the big event.  The event is from 12:30 pm to 4:00 pm on 8/21/17.
Cost: FREE

Richmond Public Library – Main Library

Join us for a Solar Eclipse Watch Party on August 21st, 2017 and you are welcome to have special viewing glasses for this amazing event! Keep this in mind, if you miss this one you will have to wait until 2024! So come on out and enjoy with us the viewing of the Great Solar Eclipse!! For more details call: 804-646-4768.
Cost: FREE

Science Museum of Virginia

The moon is crashing the sun’s party, and we’re going to celebrate! Join us for a viewing party on our front lawn to celebrate the wonder of a solar eclipse. We haven’t seen a partial eclipse comparable to what we’ll see in August since May 1994, so come on down! The first 500 guests will receive free eclipse viewing glasses with Museum admission, we’ll have sun and moon themed activities outside and in the Dome theater, and a sweet eclipse party playlist will be playing outside.  Local food trucks Cheezilla, King of Pops and Intergalactic Tacos will be onsite and we’ll have tasty adult beverages available for purchase for the grown ups.  The event is on August 21 from 12 pm – 4pm.
Cost: FREE with Museum Admission


Online Viewing of Solar Eclipse

If you prefer to watch the solar eclipse indoors, you can watch NASA TV’s eclipse broadcast online and access interactive web content and views of the eclipse from more than 60 telescopes, aircraft and balloons, visit:


If you know of other events celebrating the Great American Solar Eclipse, please let us know by contacting us at