How to prepare for the solar eclipse

- On August 21, 2017, all eyes will be on the sky as millions across the United States look up to see the first total solar eclipse since 1918.

"Having so many people experience an eclipse like this is what makes it rare," said Emily Rice, an astronomer and assistant professor at the College of Staten Island.

Rice plans to take a road trip to Sweetwater, Tennessee, to see the full eclipse. Tennessee is one of 12 states in the so-called "path of totality," a swath of the country from Oregon to South Carolina where the entire sun will be eclipsed by the moon for about two minutes.

While New York isn't in that path, Rice says we will still get a good view.

"We are going to get a partial solar eclipse. It's going to be about a 75 percent blockage of the sun which is still pretty good," she said. "Set your watch and drag your coworkers outside to look at this. I think any way you get to see it is going to make it memorable."

It is set to happen locally at 2:45 p.m. If you plan to watch, you need to be prepared. Looking directly at the sun, even when it is partially eclipsed, can cause serious and permanent eye damage. Special eclipse glasses can protect your eyes.

"They are 1,000 times darker than your average pair of sunglasses," said Jason Lewin, chief marketing officer of American Paper Optics, the world's largest 3D optics company and one of NASA's recommended vendors for eclipse glasses.

Already the company has sold 70 million pairs at about a $1.25 each. The company is still taking thousands of orders a day.

 "This is not just your astro-hobbyist thing," Lewin said. "This is modern-day landing on the moon, this is history, so literally it seems like every single group... wants to be a part in this,"

The American Astronomical Society is warning people about a glut of counterfeit eclipse glasses for sale online. NASA has a list of vetted and recommended vendors on its website.

A number of locations across New York City will be hosting special viewing parties, including the Museum of Natural History and several branches of the New York Public Library.

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