Protective eyewear is key for safely enjoying the total solar eclipse

Protective eyewear is key for safely enjoying the total solar eclipse

CAYCE, SC (WIS) - You have more than 50 events to choose from here in the Midlands to catch the rare total solar eclipse happening Aug. 21, but wherever you're watching, it's important that you come prepared.

Several local organizations came together to form Total Eclipse Columbia, South Carolina and they've got a full weekend of events planned for the eclipse, including a viewing party at the Historic Columbia Speedway in Cayce.

It will be the first transcontinental total solar eclipse in 99 years to be seen in the Midlands.

A rare opportunity to see the moon completely block out the sun. But in order to see the show without damaging your eyesight, you'll want to be sure to have protective eyewear and your everyday sunglasses don't count.

Matthew Whitehouse is the observatory manager at the South Carolina State Museum.

"If it's the eclipse glasses that we're distributing in the city they've been purchased from an approved vendor and they're safe," Whitehouse said. "If you get eclipse glasses that someone claims are safe but you don't any verbiage on the back, any text or safety notice. That is a sign that you don't have a safe pair of glasses. Don't use those!"

Whitehouse also points out that, unless you have a solar filter on your camera or phone. Don't bother trying to take pictures as this can be even more damaging to your eyes, magnifying the sunlight hitting your eyes.

More than 100,000 glasses sponsored by the City of Columbia. The Columbia Regional Visitor Center is providing NASA approved glasses for just $1 inside the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center on Lincoln Street.

The eclipse begins at 1:13 p.m. on Aug. 21, with the partial phase, but it's the totality phase everyone's waiting to see. The totality phase will happen at 2:41 p.m. It lasts about two-and-a-half minutes, and it's the only time you don't need protective eyewear.

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