Aug 17, 2018 | Updated: 01:42 PM EDT

United States Total Solar Eclipse: Safety Tips When The Skies Turn Dark In August 2017

Apr 17, 2017 03:21 AM EDT

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Skies across the United States will turn dark on August 21 when the total solar eclipse phenomenon occurs. An eclipse is considered one of the most awesome celestial events. Those who are able to witness a total eclipse several times during their lifetime are considered lucky. It is, however, important to get to know some safety tips for maximum enjoyment considering that the celestial phenomenon barely 18 weeks away.

Those who live within North America will be able to see the total solar eclipse, according to Live Science. When the moon covers the sun completely, those who are located along the areas of South Caroline, Charleston, Oregon, Salem and all areas traversing the path will be able to see the sun engulfed in total darkness. Those who are located outside the path will still see the phenomenon, although it will only be a partial solar eclipse. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) website provided some safety tips for those who want to view the eclipse.

The last time that Americans witnessed a total solar eclipse was on Feb. 26, 1979. However, this will be the first time since 1918 that the phenomenon will be seen from coast to coast. The total darkness will take one hour and 40 minutes to engulf the path that stretches 113 kilometers. It will be seen at 10:15 a.m. along Lincoln City in Oregon, but those along the path of the partial eclipse will be able to see it at an earlier time.

"It's a tremendous opportunity," Williams College in Massachusetts astronomer Jay Pasachoff said. "It's a chance to see the universe change around you."

Watchers of the total solar eclipse should be prepared before the actual phenomenon to ensure they will have an unforgettable experience. Avid watchers should choose an area that is an identified centerline of the eclipse to get the most spectacular view. The total eclipse will be experienced for only two minutes and 40 seconds, but viewers should make sure they have protective eyewear.

Scientists urged observers of the total solar eclipse to never look at the sun directly without any sort of protection, according to Space. There are many options when it comes to eye protection including eclipse glasses or welder's glasses. They can also use a do-it-yourself pinhole camera made from shoeboxes to view the total or partial eclipse indirectly.

The total solar eclipse this August 2017 is expected to attract millions of people in America. There are 12 million people along the path of the total eclipse and 25 million people more in nearby areas. For sure, people from different states will flock to the centerline even before the celestial spectacle happens. This should be a warning to those who live along the centerline to prepare for traffic during that time.

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