Science | August 21, 2017 10:32 am

Everything You Need to Know About the ‘Great American Eclipse’

Only a portion of the United States will experience a total eclipse but everyone can watch.

For the first time in almost a century, a total eclipse shrouds a swath of the U.S. But, only a part of the country will be in its direct path.

The eclipse enters the United States around 1:15 p.m. A 70-mile-wide shadow cast by the moon will start in Oregon and finish its path in South Carolina around 2:49 p.m. EDT. The view from anywhere in North America will be incredible, writes The New York Times

So how can you safely watch the eclipse? Step one: Never look directly at the sun. You must shield your eyes because solar eclipses are especially dangerous. The sudden changes in luminosity can cause retina damage before your eyes have a chance to adapt or even before you can look away.

Telescopes, binoculars with the proper filters, or pinhole projectors are all good ways to watch the eclipse, but make sure you wear the safety glasses — the Times suggests the Celestron Eclipsmart Power Viewers — when you are not looking through them. The Times has some instructions on how to make your own pinhole project if you did not get your glasses in time.

You’ll probably want to be outside to experience the eclipse with a group of people. The Times writes that the “excitement, emotional intensity and connection with a crowd of people all watching the same thing will be like nothing you’ve ever felt.”

Take as many pictures as you want. New research suggests that taking pictures will help you engage more and remember the experience better, writes the Times.

If you cannot go outside because you are at work or weather prevents you from actually seeing anything, there are will be plenty of places to watch online. The Times also has some great solar eclipse recipes if you happen to know you’re going to be stuck inside but want to liven up the mood.

The next solar eclipse is December 14, 2020, in South America, so you have another shot. And if you’re not looking to travel for an eclipse, the next one will be back in the U.S. on April 8, 2024.