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Planetary Scientist Gives Solar Eclipse Safety Advice

WESTWOOD ( — Don't use sunglasses to watch the solar eclipse on Aug. 21 or you will damage your vision.

That is the warning from UCLA Professor Jean-Luc Margot, a planetary scientist.

"The only way to look safely at the sun during a partial solar eclipse is to have proper solar filters," says Margot.

Filters can come in low-cost eclipse glasses or fancier models which can be purchased online.

Without solar filters, he says you could burn your retinas -- causing blindness.

Solar telescopes also available online are another option.

"These are built specifically to look at the sun," says Margot. "They have a large solar filter at the front. They are about a hundred dollars."

If that's not in your budget you can make a pinhole camera -- a poking a hole in any paper.

"You would face your back toward the sun and you would just have the light of the sun going through the hole, making a projected image and you'll see the eclipse that way," explained Margot.

He says pets should be fine -- they don't tend to look at the sun.

In all the eclipse will last about two hours. Southern Californians will see a partial eclipse. The path of totality -- where the moon completely blocks the sun -- will stretch from Oregon to South Carolina with 12 states in between.

Professor Margot says there have been reports of scammers selling bad solar glasses, which could be dangerous.

The American Astronomical Society has put out a list of reputable vendors.

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