Viewing the solar eclipse on Long Island: What you need to know

If you’re wondering about the recent barrage of images of people in dark glasses gazing up at the sky, you’ll want to learn a thing or two about the celestial phenomenon coming up during the daylight hours of Monday, Aug. 21.

It’s a total eclipse of the sun, viewable over parts of the U.S. – but for Long Island the eclipse will be partial, covering only about 71 percent of the sun.

When is it?

Aug. 21 at 1:24 p.m.: The eclipse starts on Long Island and eclipse eyewear must be worn.

2:46 p.m.: Maximum coverage of sun, around 71 percent, will occur.

4:01 p.m.: The eclipse ends on Long Island.

What is it?

A narrow strip of darkness about 70 miles wide moves speedily across the country, starting in Oregon and, about 90 minutes later, exiting the U.S. from South Carolina.

The sun, moon and earth will be lining up. As the moon gradually moves in front of the sun, it blocks the sun’s light and its shadow is cast onto the Earth, making it feel like nighttime is falling.

Long Island, which is not on that narrow path of total eclipse, will see a partial eclipse of the sun, weather permitting.

What a total eclipse will look like:

In areas where skywatchers can see a total eclipse, here’s how it will go:

The moon starts moving over the sun, and gradually the sun is completely blocked, lasting in many locations a little over two minutes.

The sun’s corona, which is made up of strands of gases from the sun’s outer atmosphere, is visible, emanating from around the darkened orb. Then the moon starts moving away, gradually revealing the sun.

What the eclipse will look like on Long Island:

The moon starts moving over the sun, and gradually, about 71 percent of the sun is covered. The moon then starts moving away, gradually revealing the rest of the sun.

Protect your eyes

First, if you value your eyeballs, you’ll view through special eclipse glasses – not sunglasses or filters.

For the partial eclipse on Long Island, the glasses must be worn from beginning to end, or eyes will be damaged by the sun’s rays.

Eclipse glasses can be ordered online, with the American Astronomical Society pointing to a number of reputable sources on its website.

Where to watch outside:

If you want to watch the eclipse somewhere other than the beach or your back yard, here’s a sampling of locations where Long Islanders can gather during the early afternoon on August 21.

Some locations will provide safe viewing options, such as eclipse glasses, and some are weather permitting. Check the links for more details:

South Fork Natural History Museum and Nature Center

377 Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Turnpike, Bridgehampton

John Jermain Memorial Library

201 Main St, Sag Harbor

Oceanside Library

Event is at Schoolhouse Green, Foxhurst Road, Oceanside.

Cradle of Aviation Museum

Charles Lindbergh Blvd., Garden City

East Meadow Public Library

1886 Front Street, East Meadow

Where to watch inside:

Video credit: NASA

Some sites will be live-streaming the eclipse:

NASA live stream

Slooh live stream

If you miss this solar eclipse:

Mark your calendar for April 8, 2024, when the path of totality crosses upstate New York.