The road to watching this summer's solar eclipse starts in the library?

Total Solar Eclipse

NASA is planning to chase down the upcoming August 21st solar eclipse in an effort to give scientists an opportunity to study the phenomenon for a longer period of time.

Flint astronomy buff Mary Coyne is ready for the big event - wearing her eclipse glasses from Longway Planetarium.

The two most important things to keep in mind are that it is ONLY safe to view the sun without eye protection for people in the total eclipse zone during a total eclipse and that sunglasses (Rx or not) are NOT safe for viewing the sun, during an eclipse or otherwise.

But what if you are stuck in work that whole time, or something else is keeping you inside? Come with eclipse-related questions that you want answered. The solar eclipse starts at 11:37 a.m. CDT and totality begins at 1:02 p.m. CDT, lasting for a little under a minute and a half.

Hotels along the path of totality have been booked solid for a year, and Stark said to expect heavy traffic to and from the totality path, which stretches from OR to SC.

The planetarium has stocked thousands of eclipse glasses, available in the gift shop for one dollar each.

Looking directly at the sun is unsafe except during the brief total phase of a solar eclipse - known as its totality - when the moon is blocking the sun's face. Others include Oregon, Idaho, Nebraska, Illinois, Kentucky, Georgia, among others.

Here's the Earth. Here's the moon. The planetarium warns that looking at even 7 percent of the sun can cause blindness. When we also take these into account, then we find that total solar eclipses will be visible only for another 250 million years.

While it may appear dark, watching the solar eclipse without the right eyewear can severely damage your vision.

NASA has teamed up with medical and science professionals to provide additional safety information and alternative methods for safe viewing.

NASA has a list of certified retailers, and the American Astronomical Society has its own list of solar filter manufacturers and retailers.

Before we go any further, a reminder: NEVER look directly at the solar eclipse without approved viewing glasses.

A joint news release from the Space Science Institute, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and Google says about 4,800 libraries will participate in giving out free glasses.

"It's something you remember your entire life, and you will tell stories to your grandchildren about it", Espenak added.

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