2017 Solar Eclipse: How and when to watch in Michigan

- Eclipse-watchers are everywhere Monday across the United States -- and millions are expected to peer at the sun.

Millions of Americans have flocked to get in the eclipse's path of totality, where day briefly becomes night. Totality will pass over Oregon, continuing through the heartland all the way to Charleston, South Carolina. Here in Michigan, we'll see a partial eclipse that will get underway this afternoon.

The moon will cover up about 79 percent of the sun at its peak this afternoon, which will be around 2:27 p.m. FOX 2's Derek Kevra and Rich Luterman will be live on Facebook during this special, solar event. Join us live at 1 p.m. on the FOX 2 Facebook page, just as the moon will slowly start to get in the path of the sun.

Don't look directly at the sun during the eclipse unless you have special viewing glasses.

What's a total solar eclipse and why this one is so unusual

There are other options if you don't have eclipse glasses. You can look indirectly with a pinhole projector that you can make yourself. NASA has a number of designs on its website, including one made with a cereal box . Or grab a kitchen colander - that casts images of the eclipsed sun onto a screen at least 3 feet away.

What can happen when you look directly at the sun? You're essentially cooking your retina, the delicate, light-sensitive tissue deep inside the eyeball. Solar radiation can kill those cells. Hours can pass before you realize the extent of the damage.

Seconds are enough for retinal sunburn. And unlike with the skin, you can't feel it. The damage can be temporary or permanent.

How to make a pinhole projector to view the solar eclipse

If you find yourself on the road this afternoon during the big event, the Michigan State Police have some important safety tips. While the sun is blocked by the moon here it will get darker, so turn on your lights.

And, of course, try not to be distracted by the show in the sky and keep your eyes on the road.

And finally, MSP officials say do not pull over to the side of the road to check out the eclipse. If you want to stop, choose a park or parking lot somewhere away from traffic.

Hawaii experienced a total solar eclipse in 1991. But the U.S. mainland hasn't seen a total solar eclipse since 1979, when it swooped across Oregon, Washington state, Idaho, Montana and North Dakota, then into Canada.

If you miss Monday's eclipse - or get bitten by the eclipse bug - you'll have to wait seven years to see another one in the continental U.S. The very next total solar eclipse will be in 2019, but you'll have to be below the equator for a glimpse. We're talking the South Pacific, and Chile and Argentina. It's pretty much the same in 2020. For the U.S., the next total solar eclipse will occur on April 8, 2024. The line of totality will cross from Texas, up through the Midwest, almost directly over Indianapolis, Cleveland and Buffalo, New York, up over New England and out over Maine and New Brunswick, Canada.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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