Solar eclipse 2017: 7 things you need to know

Posted at 1:54 PM, Aug 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-20 23:02:06-04

It's the first time in nearly a century that the moon will darken a path across the United States, eclipsing the sun. In Michigan, we will see an 80 percent eclipse from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday. 

Here's what you need to know:

1. Driving during the eclipse

AAA says to avoid driving during the eclipse, but if you do, be prepared for distracted pedestrians and drivers. Leave plenty of space between your vehicle and the one in front of you. If you do want to look at the eclipse, pull over to look at the eclipse, with glasses to protect your eyes.

Do not wear the eclipse glasses while driving - they will be so dark that you won't be able to see the road. 

2. Make sure you have the right glasses

The only thing you should be able to see through legitimate eclipse viewing glasses is a bright light or the sun. Make sure there are no scratches and that the ISO symbol and a NASA approved manufacturers name is printed on the glasses.

3. How to get close-up views of the eclipse

Many experts say binoculars and telescopes will give you the best view of the eclipse, but you need to buy proper filters. Wearing glasses and looking through binoculars without a filter can damage your eyes.

4. There are other ways to safely view the eclipse

If you don't have glasses, you can build a pinhole box camera, where you look into the box and watch the sun's reflection. 

5. Taking pictures

If you don't have a special filter, do not point your camera at the sun - not even your cell phone camera. You can burn out the sensor. A professional camera works best, but you can tape eclipse viewing glasses over the lens and light sensor of your phone and put it on a tripod so you can zoom in.

6. What about protecting your pets?

Animals might be a little scared of what's happening, but it is safe for pets to go outside.

7. Where to watch the eclipse

Find a place that has an open area, with an unobstructed view of the sky. You want a place without much light pollution, so avoid areas with artificial lighting. Think about the atmosphere you want to be in. Do you want to be quiet and contemplative in the woods, or do you want to have fun activities planned?