WTVM Editorial 8/13/17: Total Solar Eclipse safety

(WTVM) - The Total Solar Eclipse is coming soon and it will be a big, maybe once in a lifetime event for most of us.

We haven't had a coast-to-coast eclipse since 1918, and it will be 99 years until another eclipse like this one will be visible across the entire continental U.S. from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.

It will be an exciting and event bizarre experience for many: the sky will turn dark as the night around 2:30 in the afternoon of Monday, August 21.

It's important to remind ourselves that it is never safe to stare directly at the sun, even as it disappears behind the moon.

Make sure if you are going to view the eclipse you do it wearing approved solar eclipse glasses, like the kind WTVM and WXTX are giving away.

Staring directly at the solar eclipse can do lasting damage to eye tissue– the risk to your eyesight is real.

We have a lot of safety information on the eclipse available on our website and mobile news app.

Many schools in Alabama and some in Georgia say they'll close that day due to safety concerns; while others around the country have decided to have school,  protective glasses for students to make it a special learning day.

It's important to take precautions, but a total eclipse is a special and exciting, educational experience for all of us.

Although the eclipse will slowly develop over several hours, the totality will only last about two and a half minutes.

We urge you to learn all you can before the big day so you know what to look for, and you do it safely, even as you create a very special memory.

General Manager Holly Steuart brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to hsteuart@wtvm.com or write to:

WTVM Editorial Committee

1909 Wynnton Road

Columbus, GA 31906

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