Eclipse 101: how and where to see it

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Monday rendezvous for sun, Earth, moon


Be sure to take your afternoon coffee break outdoors on Monday — you’ll be in for a spectacle in the sky.

The total solar eclipse of 2017 will blanket 48 states in at least partial darkness for a good chunk of midday on the 21st. Seen from New York City, the moon will cover just a bit more than 70 percent of the sun — not total darkness, but still an impressive sight.

The rare event will start at 1:23 p.m. in New York and end around 4 p.m. EST, but peak time will be at 2:44 p.m. when the shadow will be largest, according to the American Museum of Natural History.

While this is a must-see event, your mother’s warning holds true: do not look directly into the sun! There are safe ways to witness the eclipse without damaging your eyes, and your regular sunglasses won’t cut it. Instead, don special specs: “Eclipse glasses ensure that you are fully protected from all the harmful rays of the sun so you can stare at it for a lengthy amount of time,” says Jackie Faherty, a senior scientist in the astrophysics department at the American Museum of Natural History.

You can also create a pinhole camera. “Either take a piece of paper or cardstock, poke a tiny hole in it and reflect it down on a white surface with the sun through the hole,” Faherty said. “Alternatively, you can look for household items like spaghetti strainers that have tiny holes in them. Use that to project the sun onto the ground.”

NASA’s website ( lists reputable vendors for solar glasses, as well as safety tips for watching the eclipse.

The American Museum of Natural History will hold an event in their Rose Center for Earth and Space from noon to 4 p.m. where you can learn more about the total and watch NASA’s live broadcast.

The American Institute of Architects will dedicate one of their regular boat tours to the eclipse, so you can supplement your lecture on Manhattan architecture with solar facts. Or, lay back and grab a drink at The Hotel Americano in Chelsea. They’ll be hosting a viewing party from their rooftop and also provide solar sunglasses.

Libraries in Brooklyn, the Bronx and two in Queens are distributing solar glasses for free and will also serve as your informational guide for all things eclipse-related.

To experience the eclipse, all you have to do is look up, but many venues throughout the city will host eclipse “watch parties.” The Pelham Bay Branch library in the Bronx and the Clinton Hill library in Brooklyn will host viewing parties.

However you view it, do it safely and don’t miss it. Your next opportunity won’t be until 2024, when 89 percent of the sun will be covered for New York — but total coverage for our area won’t happen until 2079.

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