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Boston’s solar eclipse: The best time to see it and other stuff to know

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Big event August 21

Rocky Raybell/Flickr

Editor’s note: This post was updated from one published August 3, 2017.

The best time in the Boston area to see the first total solar eclipse in the continental United States since 1979—when Tom Brady was 2—will be on Monday, August 21, at 2:46 p.m.

We know that from this handy ZIP code search from our pals at Vox.

But what will you actually see on August 21?

Realize this, though: In our neck of the Lower 48, the total eclipse will actually appear as a partial one. That is, at the eclipse’s peak in the Boston area, the moon will obscure 63.2 percent of the sun—enough to darken the afternoon sky, but not enough to really make the lights go out completely.

Not satisfied?

If you truly want to see the solar eclipse in its totality, then hop a plane or get in the car and head to coastal South Carolina. That’s per the United States Naval Observatory, which crunched data to determine the best place to take in the event on the East Coast on the afternoon of August 21.

To see the longest total eclipse in the lower 48, head to southern Illinois, according to the Museum of Science in Boston. There will be a total eclipse there for up to two minutes and 40 seconds.

When will you get another chance?

If you can’t make it to the Palmetto State or the Land of Lincoln, then at least try to go outside: Such an alignment of the earth, the sun, and the moon won’t be visible again from the continental U.S. until 2024.

By the way...

Never look directly at the eclipse, even if it is partial. Use a solar filter at the end of a telescope or the project method. Don’t use binoculars, either, and sunglasses are no protection, too.

Finally, the weather

The Weather Channel is calling for mostly sunny skies the afternoon of August 21, so the Boston region has a decent chance of seeing the skies darken a bit.