By Erika NortonWhat you need to know about the Great American EclipseOn Monday, Aug. 21, all of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the Sun, which will be visible from coast to coast. While the optimal places within the path of the eclipse are in the middle of the country, from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina, the tri-state area will still have a great partial eclipse view.The partial eclipse will begin to be seen in this area around 11:45 a.m. and continue until about 5 p.m., with the maximum eclipse at about 2:25 p.m., according to timeanddate.com.This is the first total eclipse of the Sun visible from the United States (excluding Alaska and Hawaii) since Feb. 26, 1979, and the first time a total eclipse will be visible from coast to coast since June 8, 1918.After the 2017 solar eclipse, the next total solar eclipse visible over the continental United States will be on April 8, 2024.Great places to view the solar eclipse are clear spots with a good view of the sky. Think parks, observatories or high elevations. For example, maybe the Hawk’s Nest in Port Jervis or Perkins Memorial Tower at Bear Mountain State Park.Live stream the eclipse:NASA will be streaming the total solar eclipse live online. Visit: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/eclipse-live-stream How to view the solar eclipseSince looking directly at the sun is unsafe, the safest way to view the eclipse is through special-purpose solar filters, such as “eclipse glasses” or hand-held solar viewers, according to NASA. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun because they transmit thousands of times too much sunlight. To find glasses approved for viewing the eclipse by NASA, check with local science museums, schools and astronomy clubs for eclipse glasses — or purchase an ISO 12312-2 compliant pair online.These are a list of brands approved by NASA for viewing the solar eclipse:American Paper Optics (Eclipser)/EclipseGlasses.com/3dglassesonline.comAPM Telescopes (Sunfilter Glasses)Baader Planetarium (AstroSolar Silver/Gold Film)Celestron (EclipSmart Glasses & Viewers)DayStar (Solar Glasses)Explore Scientific (Solar Eclipse Sun Catcher Glasses)Lunt Solar Systems (SUNsafe SUNglasses) [see their unique kid-size eclipse glasses]Meade Instruments (EclipseView Glasses & Viewers)Rainbow Symphony (Eclipse Shades)Seymour Solar (Helios Glasses)Thousand Oaks Optical (Silver-Black Polymer & SolarLite)TSE 17 (Solar Filter Foil)These retail chains also carry eclipse glasses: 7-ElevenBest BuyCircle KHobby TownKirklandsLove’s Travel StopsLowe’sMcDonald’s (Oregon only)Pilot/Flying JToys “R” UsWalmartSource: NASAWhat is a solar eclipse?A solar eclipse happens when the moon casts a shadow on Earth, fully or partially blocking the sun’s light in some areas. Observers within the path of totality will be able to see the sun’s corona (weather permitting), like in the images above and left. Observers outside this path will see a partial eclipse.Source: NASALocal solar eclipse events If you’re looking for a place to view the eclipse, check out these local events:Pike County PA 4-H Club Viewing PartyAug. 21, noon to 4 p.m. at Matamoras Airport Park, Avenue S, Matamoras.The concession stand will be offering great solar specials, the Pike County 4H will provide materials and instructions to build a solar eclipse viewing device, and live streaming of the event will be projected on the big screen. Solar Eclipse 2017: The Sun in Darkness at SUNY OrangeAug. 21, 1:15 to 4 p.m. Middletown campus: Sandra and Alan Gerry Forum room 010, Rowley Center for Science and Engineering, 115 South St.Newburgh campus: OCTC Great Room 101, Kaplan Hall, 1 Washington Center.In Orange County, a 70 percent eclipse of the sun will occur. The time of the peak is 2:43 p.m. However, it will start at 1:21 p.m. and end at 3:58 p.m. Because the eclipse develops at the time of day when it normally is brightest, the gradual darkness will be obvious.Astronomy professors William Istone, PhD, and Tom Blon, MA, are celebrating the event on the Newburgh and Middletown campuses, respectively, by setting up the large telescopes equipped with sun filters. In addition, eclipse safety glasses will be provided. On the Newburgh campus come to the Green Oval outdoors at Kaplan Hall, and in Middletown come to the center of the campus, the Alumni Green.Also, live-streaming along the swath where the total 100 percent eclipse moves will be available for viewing on nine foot screens in OCTC Great Room 101, Kaplan Hall (Newburgh) and Sandra and Alan Gerry Forum room 010, Rowley Center for Science and Engineering (Middletown), rain or shine.Attendees may find free parking in the Kaplan Hall garage accessed at 73 First St. (GPS) Newburgh and Orange Hall lot at the corner of Wawayanda and Grandview Avenues (GPS: 24 Grandview Avenue) Middletown.Solar Eclipse Party & Live Stream at Warwick LibraryAug. 21, 1 to 4 p.m. at Albert Wisner Public Library, 1 McFarland Drive, Warwick.Live NASA Video streaming in the Community Room • Noon to 4 p.m.Viewing party on the lawn • 1 to 3 p.m.If the weather cooperates, the library will have a limited number of solar glasses for those who wish to view the event outside. Glasses will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis the day of the event.Bring an cereal box and make an eclipse projector.Register at http://www.albertwisnerlibrary.org. How to host an Eclipse Party1. Chose a location: Many eclipse enthusiasts host parties in local community centers, museums, observatories, parks or open fields. Even your own backyard is a good place to throw a party. And if you want to see the total eclipse, connect to NASA’s live streaming event, even hook up to a larger screen or project it onto a wall.2. Set the stage for you eclipse party:For food, think moon pies, sun-dried goodies, circular-shaped food like muffins or cookies, deviled eggs, crescent rolls, or pepperoni pizza. For decor, think astronomy-themed. Check out Pinterest for tons of sun and moon-themed ideas.3. NASA’s website also has tons of fun downloadable fact sheets, activities and posters for guests to enjoy. Visit: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov 4. Make your playlist:Here are a few suggestions: Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie TylerEclipse by Pink FloydAin’t No Sunshine by Bill WithersBlack Hole Sun by SoundgardenMoonshadow by Cat StevensShadow of the Day by Linkin ParkRocket Man by Elton JohnSpace Oddity by David BowieSisters Of The Moon by Fleetwood MacSolar On The Rise by Tennis5. Hand out eclipse glasses or encourage attendees to bring their own (B.Y.O.G.)6. Enjoy the celestial event of the year!