Everything to know about the upcoming total solar eclipse

Posted August 04, 2017

If you don't live in a city in the path of the total solar eclipse on August 21, it's time to start making your travel plans!

At its heart, a solar eclipse is what happens when the moon slips between the Earth and the sun, blocking out the light from our closest star by casting a long shadow onto our planet.

In ancient times people feared eclipses, which occur when the tilt of the earth's orbit around the sun and the moon's orbit around the earth are just right during a new moon phase for the moon to line up exactly over that big golden orb. However, only select cities across the USA will be the path of totality.

In East Texas, people will not see a total eclipse.

A display rack at the Lowe's store on Simon Drive in Syracuse contains solar eclipse viewing glasses for $1.98 a pair. However, at the time of writing, Google has already given away all of the free glasses, but it says that many local libraries across the country will have some to spare.

You must be in the path of totality to witness a total solar eclipse.

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Stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking up at the bright sun. Here are video instructions from NASA. A documentary, "Eclipse: The Sun Revealed" costs $6 for adults, $4 for seniors and kids 2-11, and will be shown at 12:30 and 3:30 p.m.

The only exception to that rule is if you are in what's called the "path of totality", the 70-mile-wide strip that will slice a thin line from OR to SC.

Hawley, a physics and astronomy professor and the director of engineering physics at the University of Kansas, advised booking any travel tickets and hotel reservations way ahead of time and to expect plenty of traffic on the road.

Make sure the glasses carry this rating: ISO 12312-2. Avoid glasses that are more than three years old and those with scratched or wrinkled lenses. Use this as the screen and set up your camera to photograph or record continuous video of this screen as the crescent of the solar surface disappears at the start of the eclipse and re-appears at the end of the eclipse.

NASA has a list of certified retailers, and the American Astronomical Society has its own list of solar filter manufacturers and retailers. There will be other eclipses before this time, but none going from coast to coast. "It's one of the most remarkable, most spectacular naked-eye phenomenon that you can see".

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