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Path of Solar Totality: How and where to watch the eclipse

On August 21, the moon will swallow the sun in a total solar eclipse. Southern Colorado will see a partial eclipse it but you may want to head north for the full effect.

File-In this Jan.15,2010 file photo showing a combination of three separate photographs, the various stages of an annular solar eclipse seen over Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. An annular solar eclipse occurs when the moon blots out all but a ring around the sun. This year's solar show can be viewed from eastern Asia to parts of North America. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena,File)

Is it a dragon eating the sun, the sun and moon quarreling, or God’s warning of doomsday? Throughout history, solar eclipses have captured the imagination and mythology of countless cultures—causing drama and intrigue wherever they happen. And on August 21, the U.S. will get to experience a solar eclipse that will cut across the entire United States all the way from Oregon to South Carolina around midday.

The path of best viewing cuts across the Midwest. Places such as nearby Wyoming and Nebraska will be thick with tourists flocking to see the eclipse, but places in northern Colorado, particularly in the northeastern portion of the state, will have great views, too.

In Colorado, viewers of the eclipse should expect to see the sub disappear at approximately 11:45 a.m.

Here’s what you need to know about the big day:

1 Solar eclipses are more common worldwide than you may think, but this one is still kind of a big deal.

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On average, a solar eclipse can be visible from somewhere on earth every 1.5 years, but having a solar eclipse with a path across the entire United States is a rare occurrence. The last time a total eclipse occurred coast-to-coast in the States was 99 years ago, and the next time one will travel across the entire county will be in 2045.

2 No matter where you are in the US, you’ll get to experience some of the effects of the solar eclipse.
On August 21, every single spot in the continental U.S. will experience at least 60-75 percent of the sun obscured. You will get to see the sky darken in the middle of the day to some extent, and watch the strange phenomenon. Temperatures will drop, and animals will act strangely because they will think it’s dusk.

3 If you want a full experience of the total eclipse, you will have to travel out of state.
However, if you want to see the solar eclipse in its entirety, you can’t stay in Colorado. There’s only a thin line of about 60 miles stretching across the States where the solar eclipse will be observed in full force. For Coloradans, two of the closest, prominent spots for seeing the Eclipse will be Casper, Wyoming or Lincoln, Nebraska—both of which have festivals planned surrounding the eclipse.

4 Hotels and campgrounds are all reserved and full in most cities hosting events for the total eclipse.
If you do want to go to the path of totality, then you most likely won’t be able to stay at a hotel or rented campground around the cities involved. Hotels and campgrounds are booked out solid for that time period in major cities that are in the pathway. Instead, you’ll have to figure out alternative ways, like driving into the area the day of and driving back out. Get creative now and figure out your plan.

5 Wherever you end up watching the eclipse, protect your eyes.
No, you can’t go blind watching a solar eclipse—another popular myth perpetuated for centuries. However, staring directly at a solar eclipse without eye protection can permanently damage your retina. Normal sunglasses do not work and will not effectively protect your eyes. If you’re interested in observing the eclipse, you should buy a special solar eclipse glasses—which you can find online easily for a couple of dollars.

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