What you need to know about the total solar eclipse

An illustration of the sun's corona during an eclipse in 1871

An illustration of the sun’s corona during an eclipse in 1871. Wellcome Library London CC BY 4.0

The longest total eclipse of the sun of this century triggered tourist fever in Asia as astronomy enthusiasts from home and overseas flocked to watch the event The eclipse was visible from within a narrow corridor that begins in India and crosses through Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar and China.

To protect your eyes when viewing the sun or an eclipse, NASA and the American Astronomical Society (AAS) advise you to use solar eclipse glasses or other solar filters from recommended manufacturers.

Those watching with, for example, eclipse glasses, will see an increasing chunk taken out of the solar disk as the moon starts passing in front of it.

The only safe time to look at an eclipse without eye protection is when the moon completely blocks out the sun's rays, which won't happen in MI. Our Dave Longley has some tips article he posted a week ago. You would need about 70 pairs of sunglasses stacked up to provide enough protection for your eyes!

As thousands of people travel to SC to watch the historic eclipse, the hunt is on for protective lenses to view the phenomenon. The Great American Solar Eclipse will run from coast to coast and be the first of 3 spectacular eclipses that will occur in the United States over the coming quarter century. It will cross the OR coast and exit near Charleston South Carolina. "This is when the light from the sun is shining through the valleys on the moon, so we're actually seeing structure on the moon for that".

In the eclipse's "path of totality", the sun will shrink to a sliver before going completely dark for about two and a half minutes. "So that means that ... most of the time, the moon is above or below the sun in the sky, and so it doesn't cover it up".

-Solar Eclipse VR (99 cents) needs to be attached to a virtual reality viewer like Google Cardboard to show you animated 360 degree looks at simulated eclipse's.

The path of 100% totality will pass through parts of Wyoming, Idaho, and South Dakota. The path is only about 70 miles wide, stretching from OR to SC, and you will only experience a total eclipse if you're inside of it. This is the result of the last remaining little bits of sun shining between mountains and through deep valleys on the edge of the moon, and is called Baily's Beads. It will be at the midpoint, or maximum eclipse, at 2:22pm.

Enjoy! The last solar eclipse happened in St. Louis in 1442. Most store managers say they won't be getting anymore back in before August 21. Yeah, you'd really be doing us all a big favor.

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