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Rare and Dangerous: How To View The Solar Eclipse Safely

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VESTAL, N.Y. -

Darkness in the afternoon. It's a rare event. So rare, the United States hasn't seen a solar eclipse in nearly 40 years. On August 21st, the moon will cover the sun in mid afternoon. New Yorkers won't get to see the total eclipse, since we're not lined up just right for that angle, but it will come pretty close.

"The sun will look like a crescent moon," says Drew Deskur, Executive Director of Kopernik Observatory.

Before you rush outside to take a look, it's important to take a few safety precautions. Rays from the sun can do some serious damage to your eyes, so never look directly at the sun.

Solar eclipse glasses can be found for sale, and Kopernik will be giving them out with admission. Other methods for safely viewing the eclipse include projection. You can use a piece of paper with a pin hole to let the sun shine through and project onto a flat surface. You can also bounce the sun beams on to a screen or flat surface using a mirror, just don't look at the reflection.

And absolutely do not try and view the sun through a telescope or binoculars, even while wearing the safety glasses.

"The magnification that you get with that telescope or those binoculars will immediately burn through the glasses," says Deskur.

The eclipse will be peaking here in New York around 2:45pm on August 21st and will be over with by 4pm, so mark your calendars and enjoy safely!