Questions about the solar eclipse? Here’s what you need to know

When is the total solar eclipse?

Monday, Aug. 21.

What will happen?

The moon will pass between the Earth and sun, casting a shadow on the Earth and causing a brief period of darkness.

Where in Nebraska can I see it?

A partial eclipse will be visible from anywhere in the state. The total eclipse will be visible only within a 70-mile-wide strip running from near Scottsbluff to just south of Falls City.

Where will it be in the sky?

Generally, about 60 degrees over the horizon in the south-southeastern sky.

How long will it last?

The eclipse will have the greatest duration for viewers at the center line of the totality zone. Folks south of Falls City, near the Kansas border, will have the longest viewing in Nebraska, at 2 minutes, 38 seconds.

Some other viewing durations: Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, 1:19; Beatrice, 2:35; Grand Island, 2:34; Kearney, 1:54; North Platte, 1:48; and Scottsbluff, 1:41.

What time will it occur?

Generally, midday, but the exact times vary by location.

In Omaha and Lincoln, for instance, the partial eclipse starts at approximately 11:38 a.m. Central Daylight Time and ends at 2:30 p.m.

In Lincoln, totality will start about 1:02 p.m. and end at 1:04 p.m.

When was the last total solar eclipse in the contiguous United States?

Feb. 26, 1979.

When is the next?

April 8, 2024. Omaha will get 80 percent coverage as it moves from west of Mexico to the Northeast, through New England.

What’s special about Lewellen, Nebraska, and eclipses?

According NASA, it is one of two areas that have not seen a total solar eclipse in more than 1,000 years. The other is Fort Morgan in eastern Colorado.

Is it safe to watch the eclipse?

Viewers must exercise extreme caution to avoid damaging their eyes. During the partial phases, viewers must wear special eclipse glasses. Even the darkest sunglasses won’t do. Lenses of eclipse glasses are extremely dense, blocking harmful rays. According to NASA, four manufacturers have certified that their eclipse glasses and hand-held solar viewers meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard for such products: Rainbow Symphony, American Paper Optics, Thousand Oaks Optical, and TSE 17.

NASA recommends that even people wearing eclipse glasses should look away frequently to cool and rest their eyes.

During the brief period of totality, when the sun is completely covered, the eclipse can be viewed with the naked eye. But viewers should look away and put on their glasses as soon as the sun emerges again.

Since Omaha won’t see the total eclipse, Omahans will need glasses for the entire event, unless they use a pinhole camera. By making a hole with your fingers or in a sturdy card, you can project the eclipse onto the sidewalk or a piece of paper.

Where can I find more information?

A good place to start is eclipse2017.nasa.gov. This is the main NASA website where you can find information on the science of eclipses, interactive maps and safety tips.

Here are some others to try:

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