Your last-minute cheat sheet on Monday's Eclipse of the CenturyPosted: Updated:
(CNN/MEREDITH) -- In case you haven't been paying attention (and NO ONE would judge you if you weren't), there is a teensy weensy little boring astronomical event happening on Monday known as the Great American Eclipse.
It's called such because it's the first total solar eclipse to be visible to the US mainland since 1979 and, well, in general, eclipses are pretty great. Here's everything -- and we mean everything -- you need to know about this event. And no, there are no stupid questions.
When is the eclipse?
The eclipse will take place on Monday, August 21. The total eclipse begins on the West Coast just after 10 a.m. PT and ends on the East Coast a little before 3 p.m. ET.
Ok, but when is it in my area?
Here is an extremely handy interactive map. There's still time to make an "A Beautiful Mind"-level conspiracy board about the eclipse and what it means, and if you're interested in that, we recommend making this map the centerpiece.
You can even type in your exact address to see whether you'll get a good view.
How long will it last?
Short answer? About two minutes.
Long answer? It depends on where you are. Illinoians, rejoice -- you'll get the longest bit of the eclipse in Carbondale. There, the event will last two minutes and 43 seconds.
Will I even be able to see it?
Sooo this is the tricky part. The "path of totality," or the path of the eclipse under which things will get really dark, extends from South Carolina, up through Nebraska, and passes over the west coast through Oregon. The path is about 70 miles wide, so a fairly narrow portion of the US will be in prime viewing spots.
Just because you're not in the path of totality doesn't mean you won't be able to see it though. It just won't be as dramatic.
Do really I have to wear glasses so my eyeballs don't roast in their sockets?
Yes. Don't you remember being told as a little kid never to look directly at the sun? Ageless wisdom! You're only safe staring up slack-jawed at it if you're in the direct path of totality, AND only for the few minutes the moon is actually in front of the sun.
If you stare at it anyway, you could do long-term damage to your eyes. So please, just wear the funny glasses. Here's a list of safe options.
So I shouldn't stare directly, unblinking, at a 10,000-degree ball of fire?
It is not recommended.
Even if it's cloudy?
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