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Making The Most Of Next Week's Historic Total Solar Eclipse

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Next week, people across the country will witness a historic solar eclipse.

On Monday, scientists talked about how you can make sure you have a great viewing experience right here in the Tri-State Area.

As CBS2's Elise Finch reported, a solar eclipse is what happens when the moon passes between the sun and the earth, blocking all or part of the sun.

On August 21st, a total solar eclipse will be seen in 14 states, starting in Oregon and ending in South Carolina.

Because the United States is the only country that will experience this, some are calling it the great American eclipse, and a lot of people are anxious to see it.

"It's something you look forward to, like a bench mark in your life seeing the eclipse," Brooklyn resident Paula Guevara said.

"It's not common, it's an event like once in a lifetime, not exactly but it's difficult to see so I'm going to enjoy the opportunity," Midtown resident Marina Carbi said.

"Get the special glasses, I'm really interested to see how this looks," Upper West Sider Prabhodhini Lakshmanen said.

On Monday morning, Neil deGrasse Tyson -- noted astrophysicist and author -- lead a discussion about the upcoming eclipse at the American Museum of Natural History.

The Tri-State Area isn't in the 70-mile "path of totality," meaning we won't see a total solar eclipse. But if skies are clear, all we have to do is step outside and turn our eyes to the sky to see the moon block about 70 percent of the sun.

Some New Yorkers say it sounds amazing, but they probably won't be watching.

"I don't have the time," one man said.

Experts say even if you aren't really a science enthusiast, this is one event people in the Tri-State Area just shouldn't miss.

"People write poems about the idea of standing in somebody's shadow," astrophysicist Jackie Faherty said. "When you stand in somebody's shadow, that invokes a feeling in you. And on August 21st, you get to stand in the shadow of the moon. We get to stand in the largest possible shadow that can be cast on this earth."

If getting the protective glasses and finding a viewing party sounds like too much work, Tyson suggests a simpler way to enjoy the eclipse.

"Go into your kitchen and get a spaghetti strainer or colander, not the mesh, the kind with the holes in it," he said. "Go outside and hold that up over the ground, each of those holes will act as a pinhole camera and you'll see hundreds of images of the crescent sun on the ground and you can watch the eclipse unfold safely."

The best viewing will hit the Tri-State Area around 2:44 p.m. Monday, but don't be late! It will only last for about two minutes.

The last time the continental United States saw a total solar eclipse was 1979. The next one happens in 2024.

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