North Carolina will experience a partial eclipse on April 8 - Carolina Country

Sun in Shadow

Don’t miss the partial eclipse on April 8

By Lori Grossman

Sun in Shadow

A solar eclipse wasn’t always an occasion for curious wonder. In ancient China, people panicked, fearing a dragon was eating the sun. General George Washington had to warn his troops of a coming partial eclipse on Jan. 9, 1777. If he hadn’t, he wrote, “this event, without previous knowledge of it, might affect the minds of the Soldiery, and be attended with some bad consequences.”

So it’s probably a good thing that we now have a firm grasp on the physics of when the moon passes between the Earth and our view of the sun.

The last total solar eclipse seen from our part of the world was fairly recent, on Aug. 21, 2017. That one crossed over the far southwestern part of the state, while most of North Carolina saw a partial eclipse. Only seven years later, on April 8, another celestial show is on its way.

For parts of the country, this day will mark an impressive total eclipse, with the moon covering the entirety of the sun. Here in NC, we’ll have a partial view, but a partial eclipse is well worth the effort, says Kenneth Brandt, director of the Robeson Planetarium and Science Center in Lumberton.

“Partial eclipses are still cool to see, as during most of the eclipse, you’ll be able to see the ‘crescent sun’ projected through small openings, like those in a colander.”

If you can’t travel to the path of totality, catch the partial eclipse at one of these locations, listed by percentage of totality.

Whether you view the eclipse at home or away, be sure to wear special eclipse glasses. Regular sunglasses won’t protect your eyes from permanent damage. Many local libraries will be handing out free glasses.

And if you miss this eclipse, or if it happens to be cloudy, future partial eclipses affecting parts of the state (though not as impressive as this year's show) will occur in August 2026, and January of both 2028 and 2029. Our kids and grandkids could enjoy the next total eclipse in North Carolina — on May 11, 2078!

Solar Eclipse Viewer

Solar Eclipse Watcher

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Watch the partial eclipse at one of these locations

88% Mount Jefferson State Natural Area, West Jefferson  |  336-246-9653
Visitors can view the eclipse with a park ranger from 1–3 p.m. at the  Sunset Overlook. Eclipse glasses will be available.

86% Gorges State Park, Sapphire  |  828-966-9099
Ranger-guided half-mile hike to the Bearwallow Valley Observation Deck. Meet at the Visitor Center at 1:30 p.m., Only 30 pairs of viewing glasses available, so bring your own.

84% Lake Norman State Park, Statesville  |  704-528-6350
Event from 2–4 p.m. Limited supply of eclipse glasses will be available. Join park staff at the swim beach.

80% Dismal Swamp State Park, South Mills  |  252-771-6593
View with a park ranger from 1–2 p.m. There will be several activities, including a craft project. Pre-registration required. Limited glasses available.

80% Imperial Centre for the Arts and Sciences, Rocky Mount  |  252-972-1266
Weather permitting, Tar River Astronomy Club members will set up telescopes for viewing. If you bring a shoe box or something similar, staff will help you make an eclipse viewer. From 1–5 p.m.

80% Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, Chapel Hill  |  919-962-1236
Outdoor sun-viewing stations. Science educators will be there to assist. Eclipse glasses available for $2.

79% Jockey’s Ridge State Park, Nags Head  |  252-573-6108 
Join park staff to view the eclipse. Complimentary glasses available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Begins at 1 p.m.

76% Fort Macon State Park, Atlantic Beach  |  252-726-3775
Park staff will have special viewing glasses and other safe-viewing equipment. Stop by the Visitor Center patio between 2:30 and 4 p.m.

About the Author

Freelance writer Lori Grossman currently lives in Texas, but carries memories of North Carolina in her heart.

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