WASHINGTON - As millions await the first total solar eclipse over the United States in nearly a century, experts are urging those who intend to witness the phenomenon to take safety precautions to protect their eyes.
The solar eclipse is set to stretch from coast-to-coast on Aug. 21 and will be the first time this has happened since 1918. The next solar eclipse over the U.S. will occur in 2024, but it will not stretch from coast-to-coast.
If you're in its direct path, it will be dark outside as if it was nighttime, and you should be able to see stars in the middle of the day.
The solar eclipse will be partial in D.C., peaking at 2:42 p.m., which means the sun will never be entirely obstructed, so you should avoid looking directly at the sun for risk of damaging your eyes.
Space.com associate editor Sarah Lewin said sunglasses alone will not suffice in protecting your eyes. Viewers will need to witness the eclipse through a solar filter. People who watch the solar eclipse without eye protection could be blinded.
Special eclipse glasses and binoculars which have solar filters can be purchased to safely watch the eclipse. A pinhole camera, which consists of a cardboard box used to reflect the eclipse, is also a safe way to watch.
In the video player above, Lewin walks us through the different ways to protect your eyes during the solar eclipse.