Photo credit: Paula Johnson-Kill in Morris, Minnesota
(KMSP) - It's finally here -- The Great American Total Solar Eclipse makes itself visible across the United States. In Minnesota, we'll experience a partial eclipse -- about 84 percent of the eclipse's totality. LIVE VIDEO
The partial eclipse visible in Minnesota starts at 11:43 a.m. and peaks at 1:06 p.m. before finishing off right before 2:30 p.m.
PROTECT YOUR EYES
Staring at a total solar eclipse without the proper eye protection can cause permanent damage to the eyes. Even looking at a partial solar eclipse -- like we'll experience in Minnesota today -- can cause permanent damage to unaided eyes.
The easiest way to view the solar eclipse is with ISO-certified eclipse glasses. The glasses block out 99.9 percent of the sun's light, allowing you to look at it for extended periods of time. The glasses MUST have the ISO logo somewhere on them -- it is typically printed on the inside of the glasses.
Eye doctors recommend keeping your ISO 12312-2 certified glasses on the entire viewing. Turn your back towards the sun and make sure your glasses cover your naked eyes, or everyday glasses, completely. Then, and only then, turn around to the sun.
FYI -- real sunglasses do not block out enough light to be used as eye protection during the eclipse.
NO GLASSES? MAKE YOUR OWN
If you can't get your hands on a pair of eclipse glasses, you can use an empty cereal box to build a projection box.
Full instructions can be found here.
PROTECT YOUR PETS
Veterinarians suggest playing it safe when it comes to your pets during the solar eclipse. Keep your pets inside and away from windows as a precaution.
TAKING PICTURES OF THE ECLIPSE
If you're trying to get that NASA-quality shot during the eclipse, professional photographers say a DSLR camera with a remote release and a tripod are your best bet.
Don't forget to protect your camera lens -- use a solar filter to make sure you don't burn your sensor out. The same rules apply for your smartphone.
THE NEXT SOLAR ECLIPSE
After today, the next total solar eclipse, visible from Texas to Maine, will be seven years from now -- in 2024.