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Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

Grab your special glasses and stay away from any mysterious plants — a solar eclipse is on its way.

Many will travel across the United States just to get the perfect view of this nationwide phenomena, which is being dubbed the “Great American Solar Eclipse,” on Aug. 21. It’s the first time in 47 years that a total eclipse will pass over the continental U.S.; the last occurrence was on March 7, 1970, and 96 percent of the sun was blocked during that cosmic event.

However, you need not to travel too far to catch a glimpse of a near-total eclipse, where the moon will cover nearly 75 percent of the sun.

Locally, the near-total eclipse will be visible in Queens starting at 1:23 p.m. and ending at around 4 p.m. The peak of the near-total eclipse, which will last approximately two minutes, will take place at 2:44 p.m.

The most important thing you can do when watching the solar eclipse is to protect your eyes. Staring at the sun is dangerous on a normal day; doing so during a solar eclipse risks major visual injury. Normal sunglasses won’t help, either. You’ll need to pick up a special pair of eclipse viewing glasses, which can be removed for the peak of the eclipse, that will protect your eyes during the partial phases of the eclipse.

There are number of places where you can pick up a pair of special eclipse glasses, including your local Best Buy store (locations in Elmhurst, Long Island City and Flushing), Lowe’s (253-01 Rockaway Blvd., Rosedale), and Walmart. Click here to see a complete list of reputable vendors.

The Queens Library is hosting solar eclipse-related events during August, including eclipse viewing parties on the day of, at many of their branches throughout the borough. Many of the events will include arts and crafts, solar eclipse education and your very own pair of special eclipse glasses. Click here to find an event near you.

There are plenty of places in Queens where you can view the near-total eclipse. For a view without any obstructions, head over to Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Alley Pond Park or Highland Park.

If you catch a really cool picture of this year’s eclipse, show us by sending them to editorial@qns.com, tagging us on Instagram (@qnsgram) or send them to us on Twitter (@QNS).

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