Solar Eclipse of the sun August 21st

CBS News  Leonard Bates    CBS News Leonard Bates

Floating in the European Columbus laboratory module, Bresnik showed off a solar filter shipped up to the station earlier, saying "we've got specially equipped cameras that'll have these solar filters on them that allow us to take pictures of the sun".

By now, you've heard about the total solar eclipse that will be crossing the country August 21.

It looks as though the vast majority of that cloud cover is high cloud, which would be less likely to block out the entire eclipse for those watching from those areas.

When the skies darken in Western Washington mid-morning Monday, Aug. 21 - don't' panic.

When getting excited about a partial solar eclipse in Houston on August 21, 2017 - when 67 percent of the sun will be blocked out at 1:16:53 p.m. CDT - one must ask if it's going to be clear or cloudy because it'll make or break the experience for us.

So, according to the maps, where are the best places in the United States to view the solar eclipse? People in the region of totality (shaded in yellow/orange) will see the sun disappear completely for about two minutes, and will see a partial eclipse for about 90 minutes before and after totality. In ancient India, he said, people believed that the severed head of a deity named Rahu caused eclipses by swallowing the sun.

Brown pelicans and frigatebirds that had been foraging over the water before the eclipse left the bay 13 minutes before totality and didn't return until 12 minutes after the solar disk was fully revealed. The eclipse will begin about 11:50 a.m. and end about 2:40 p.m., depending on location.

Earlybirds who plan on watching a piece of sun go missing should keep in mind to be safe.

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Even when the sun is mostly obscured, direct exposure to its rays can cause eye damage. Amazon still has glasses available through third-party retailers - but there's a catch.

As eclipse glasses sell out at retailers across the U.S., customers are panicking as they realize that their glasses may not arrive in time for the once-in-a-lifetime event.

People in the path of the total eclipse can expect twilight-like darkness.

Public libraries, schools, nature centers and even optometrists throughout McHenry County have organized educational sessions and safe viewing events to make the "Great American Eclipse", as it's been named, accessible to all.

An alternative to using eclipse glasses is to use a number 14 welder's mask.

Inspect your glasses beforehand.

It seems as though some companies are printing the ISO label and a fake certification on knockoff glasses that won't protect your eyes. The sun's corona, or top layer, is only visible during a total solar eclipse.

If you're not in the zone of totality, as will be the case for most of the country, the eclipse will be intellectually interesting but not dramatic. The Earth moves into the shadow created by the moon. First, a warning. Never look at the sun through a telescope or binoculars. Staff will pass out free solar eclipse glasses but there is a limited amount of seats.

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