From Oregon to South Carolina, Americans will see the sight that has left mankind trembling and astonished as long as humans have walked the earth.
The Great American Total Eclipse will be one for the record books as totality junkies from across the globe hurry to the best viewing destinations.
On August 21, 2017, for the first time in 99 years, the earth, moon, and stars will line up perfectly in a total eclipse that can be viewed in 14 states. Best viewing is predicted to be in Oregon where sunshine is predicted, especially near Madras. Local time will be 10:21 a.m. PDT and totality will last for about 2 minutes and 7-8 seconds, depending on where the viewer stands.
On the East Coast, the eclipse will start a little after 1 p.m. and reach totality just before 3 p.m.
Further inland, viewers in Illinois and Kentucky will experience 40 seconds more totality.
No, you can't look at the sun and watch the eclipse. If you have ever held a small magnifying glass over dry grass, you know what happens. The sun's rays become so focused that the grass catches fire. Something similar will happen to your eyes if you attempt to watch the eclipse. Your retina will burn up. You won't know it until you can't see any more. Do not look directly at the sun with the naked eye. Do not look at the eclipse through binoculars or a telescope or a camera lens. Do not use sunglasses, Polaroid filters, smoked glass, exposed color film, x-ray film, or photographic neutral-density filters.
What you can do is make a pinhole projector for indirect viewing. There are many instructions online for this.
ADDED BONUS: This August brings another special show that will peak during the dark hours of August 9 to 13--the Perseid Meteor Showers. Check the Internet for more details.