Eclipse Warning: Eye Damage Can be Permanent

The silver nose of this WB-57 jet contains a telescope

The silver nose of this WB-57 jet contains a telescope. NASA’s Johnson Space Center Norah Moran

Millions of Americans are getting ready to view the next eclipse on August 21, but Dr. Russell Van Gelder from the University of Washington School of Medicine warns blindness is a risk if you dont have proper eye protection.

According to NASA, a solar eclipse occurs when the moon moves in front of the sun, creating a barrier between earth and the sun.

If you can't make it to MTSU there are six other official NASA viewing sites in Middle Tennessee.

Numerous cities and towns in the path of totality are planning events to celebrate and watch the eclipse, but if you are in the Wheeling/West Liberty area and want to go somewhere to witness the spectacle, and have some fun, your best bet is Nashville, Tenn.

The full solar eclipse will be visible across the country from OR to SC for the first time since 1918.

Here in Lubbock, around 75 percent of the sun will be covered by the moon.

"So, when the moon is orbiting around the Earth, it actually has an incline compared to that sun-Earth plane [of] about 5 degrees", he explains. If you stare at the sun without protection, you may experience damage to your retina (the tissue at the back of your eye) called "solar retinopathy". "So that means that ... most of the time, the moon is above or below the sun in the sky, and so it doesn't cover it up". Only when the moon is completely covering the sun can spectators remove their glasses. Hartline said. "There are also activity sheets for kids to learn about what's going on while we all watch the eclipse".

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Great Falls College-MSU will host a solar eclipse viewing on that day, and is inviting people to attend. The next one will come in 2205.

- Total Solar Eclipse (free) offers live telescope views from NASA, narration of the live event in English and Spanish - even accompaniment by the Kronos Quartet.

The entire eclipse event will last for up to three hours, measured from the onset to the ending of any blockage of direct sunlight. The biggest of them all, and what is believed to be the largest eclipse to ever occur within the United States will be on August 12, 2045.

"When you are looking at the sun the sun will appear as a small ball with orange towards sides of sun and yellowish towards the middle of the sun", Merlo says.

How rare is a total solar eclipse?

In other areas of partial eclipse, different parts of the sun will be visible.

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