The first total solar eclipse since 1918 is happening on Monday, August 21, and people across the country are gearing up to view the astronomical event.

But how much you see depends greatly on where you are.

The best place to be? Along the path of totality.

That's where for a period of time the complete light of the sun will be blocked out, and the sky will go dark.

Appalachian State University astronomer Dr. Dan Caton says it will even “get a little cooler, birds will begin to roost, and bright stars will come out.”

Totality is a relatively narrow path, and outside of it, you'll only see a partial eclipse, which will be the case for the Triad. 

“Unfortunately it's the difference between night and day. If you're out where it's 95% to 98% covered, and someone didn't tell you an eclipse was going on, you would not even notice. It would be like a slightly hazy day,” says Caton.

But all is not lost - with the proper, licensed eyewear, you may still see some partial phases of the eclipse. “Be sure to get [glasses] that are manufactured correctly,” Caton adds.

You can find a list of official vendors here.

Triad residents will be able to see “the sun gradually get covered up over an hour or so,” according to Caton. At the peak, around 2:40 p.m., he says you may see a “little sliver of sun left.”

Caton also suggests looking under a leafy tree, and in the spots where sunlight passes through, you may see little crescent suns.

If you are planning on traveling for a better view, Caton recommends Sylva, NC, in the western tip of the state. You can find a complete map of the path of totality here.

But in any case, how much is seen will greatly depend on what kind of cloud coverage we have on the afternoon of August 21st.

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