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Eclipse 2017: Something Worth Seeing

By Essilor News

Eclipse 2017 is proving to be one of the biggest stories of the year, especially here in the United States. The U.S. is the only place on Earth where the full grandeur of this event can be experienced, so get a pair of eclipse glasses and look up on August 21 for something truly worth seeing.

You’ve never seen an eclipse like this

It’s been 241 years since the entire path of totality of a solar eclipse was located only in the contiguous 48 states. That’s right – the last time we had a total solar eclipse all to ourselves in the U.S. was 1776 (wonder what the founding fathers thought about that). This eclipse also will be special because it’s happening over a densely populated area. Most eclipses occur over water or unpopulated regions of the planet. And since some anticipate this won’t happen again for 100 years, this is probably the only time most of us will see a solar eclipse of this magnitude.

The eclipse will be something worth seeing nationwide

Only people who are in the 70-mile-wide, 3,000 mile-long path of totality will see a total solar eclipse where the moon completely blocks the sun. It starts in Lincoln Beach, Oregon, at 9:05 a.m. PDT and moves east across Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, arriving in Charleston, South Carolina, at 2:48 p.m. EDT. The spectacle comes to an end at 4:09 p.m. EDT. Those lucky enough to be in the moon's shadow on Earth will see the sky darken and feel the temperature drop. The sun will look like a black circle in the sky and its usually invisible atmosphere, called the corona, will be visible.

The good news is that everyone in the country outside of the path of totality will see a partial solar eclipse, so you’ll still have an amazing story to tell your grandkids. And, while the U.S. gets the most brilliant display, all of North America and parts of South America, Africa and Europe, also will be treated to this celestial phenomenon.

Protection is key to viewing the eclipse safely

Don’t even think about watching the eclipse without proper eye protection because the risk of serious eye injuries is real. Sunburn of the eye (photokeratitis) and potentially permanent damage to the retina at the back of the eye (solar retinopathy) can happen after just a short time looking directly at the sun – or even a small sliver of the sun – without protection.

The only time you can remove your eclipse glasses is if you’re in the path of totality during the approximately two minutes when the sun is completely blocked by the moon. As soon as a sliver of the sun starts to appear, it’s time to put the eclipse glasses back on and reduce your risk of developing eclipse blindness.

There’s no doubt Eclipse 2017 will be one for the ages. Talk about something worth seeing! Make sure you can see it clearly - talk to your eyecare professional about proper protection and correction.