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Charleston will have front-row seats during eclipse, and will be home base for NASA

(Kevin Baird / CC BY-SA 3.0)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - It's an event 99 years in the making. A total solar eclipse is exactly two months away, happening August 21.

Everyone in the United States will see at least a partial solar eclipse, but parts of only 14 states will see the total eclipse. That includes Charleston, the final place on the U.S. mainland where you'll be able to see it.

The great light show in the sky will last roughly 100 minutes, but the feature attraction - the total eclipse - will be over in what may feel like the blink of an eye. People viewing the eclipse in and around Charleston will start to see the total eclipse shortly after 2:45 p.m., and it will be over in about two minutes.

NASA held a press conference Wednesday in Washington, D.C. to talk about the eclipse, and what we can expect. NASA wants people to understand the science behind the event.

“The eclipse is important because these bodies come into alignment in a cosmic moment that we are all being part of,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, head of NASA Science Mission Directorate. “These cosmic moments when nature speaks to us in an emotional way, (they) sometimes come loud like thunderstorms, hurricanes, and earthquakes, but this one will be silent. All of a sudden, day will turn into night and back again.”

NASA also wants people to know how to safely view the eclipse. Looking directly at the sun is unsafe, except during the brief total eclipse, NASA experts say. The only safe way to look directly at the sun before the total eclipse is through special-purpose solar filters or “eclipse glasses." Ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for viewing the eclipse, NASA says.

ABC News 4 is partnering with Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum for an eclipse watch party on the USS Yorktown. It’s called "Eclipse on a Warship.” The first 3,000 visitors on Aug. 21 will receive a free pair of eclipse glasses so they can safely view the event.

Meanwhile, NASA announced Wednesday it will broadcast nationwide coverage of the eclipse live from the College of Charleston. The broadcast will be streamed on NASA TV, the NASA website and various public broadcasting stations across the U.S.

Th college is including the NASA broadcast as part of its eclipse-viewing celebration.

"The College is so thrilled to have NASA broadcasting from our campus during the upcoming total solar eclipse," said College of Charleston President Glenn McConnell. "This will be a once-in-a-lifetime event that our students, faculty, and staff will remember for the rest of their lives."

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