Neil deGrasse Tyson: 'No excuse' to miss solar eclipse

- The sun will take center stage across the United States (and the rest of North America) as millions will witness a total solar eclipse on Monday, August 21, 2017.

Excitement is building at the American Museum of Natural History on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is urging everyone to put away their smartphones and to get as close to the eclipse's path of totality as possible.

"There is no excuse -- there's nothing you can say to justify not going to the eclipse," Tyson said during a talk about the rare event that hasn't been seen in the United States since 1979.

During the total solar eclipse, the moon will line up perfectly between the earth and the sun. But only a 2,300-mile path 70 miles wide from Oregon to South Carolina will be in the path of totality.

"Your skies will go dark, stars will come out, planets will start to become visible, " astrophysicist Jackie Faherty of the American Museum of Natural History said.

"There is certain rituals that animals go through -- going to roost, returning home to their nests," Tyson added. "You'll see this behavior as the sky darkens and then it brightens up again and they just freak out."

In New York, the eclipse will be visible at 12:30 p.m. and end at 4 p.m. New York will experience a partial eclipse with 70 percent of the sun blocked at 2:44 p.m.

If you don't have eclipse glasses, don't worry. Just head to your kitchen and grab a colander or a spatula with holes in it and a white piece of paper. Then head outside to an open area. Put the colander or spatula over the paper and watch the circles become crescents as the moon passes in front of the sun.

These are NASA's eclipse-viewing safety tips.

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