By: Nick Gambino

Unless you’ve been under a rock shielded from the sun, you’ve probably heard mention of a solar eclipse planned for Monday, 21 August 2017. Well, not that it’s planned, it’s kind of just going to happen. The moon is going to fully cover the sun providing a black out effect for all of about 2 minutes.

Seeing as though this is the first total solar eclipse in 38 years, it’s kind of a big deal. Come Monday you’ll probably find people stepping away from their desks for 20 minutes during work while others will pull over on the highway to get a glimpse of the spectacle. You’ll also notice that it’s going to get a little dark at the exact moment of the eclipse.

Now, all of these clues might suggest an Independence Day scenario but don’t be alarmed. It won’t end in Randy Quaid giving his life so that the rest of us might live. That is until 20 years later when the aliens come back for more in an underwhelming sequel.

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Where Can You See It?

While the total solar eclipse can’t be seen from everywhere, you can still view at least a partial eclipse from any spot in North America, provided it’s not blocked by clouds.

For the total eclipse you’ll have to be in 1 of 14 states. The path of totality, as it’s called, can be viewed in the following locations:

  • Oregon
  • Idaho
  • Wyoming
  • Nebraska
  • Missouri
  • Illinois
  • Kentucky
  • Tennessee
  • Georgia
  • South Carolina

As you can see it’s kind of a thin ribbon stretching in a diagonal line from the Northwest to the Southeast. Check out the time map on the NASA site for exact times.

Don’t Look at the Sun with the Naked Eye

This goes without saying. I mean, we were taught this when we were kids. Looking directly at the sun can seriously damage your eyes. This is no different when watching the eclipse process. As the moon is moving over the sun, the sun is still partially exposed and is dangerous to look at. Once it’s fully covered (only visible from 1 of 14 states as above) it’s safe to look at.

Your best bet is to get a pair of solar eclipse glasses or goggles. They’re going like hotcakes on Amazon with many retailers selling out. So you’ll need to scrounge around to try and find some. NASA suggests checking with “local science museums, schools and astronomy clubs.” I’ve heard some libraries are even lending them out. So as a last ditch effort you can check there.

I for one will be traveling to one of these states to catch the full solar eclipse, something I’ve been hearing about most of my life. I’m hoping it’s all it’s cracked up to be. I’m sure it will be.

Are you going to be watching the solar eclipse? Let us know any tips we may have missed in the comments below!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nick Gambino is a regular script writer and tech beat reporter for NewsWatch. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and daughter.

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