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'Drive With Headlights': NYC Officials Offer Eclipse Safety Tips

Eclipse fever has hit the country, even in NYC, which is not in the path of totality. Still, eclipse hopefuls are swarming Warby Parker stores for free viewing glasses. While we may not see much, it's important to be safe as we experience the awesome power of nature—so Mayor Bill de Blasio offered some safety tips.

For NYC, the partial solar eclipse will start at 1:23 p.m. and end at 4 p.m., with peak "totality" at 2:44 p.m., when the moon covers 71% of the sun. Though eclipse enthusiast and Princeton University astrophysics professor Dr. Edwin Turner said, "Don't mistake it for the actual thing"—he did admit, "If you’re not in totality, and it's a nice day, it’s certainly worth getting some glasses and getting a peek." That hasn't stopped eclipse viewing-and-drink specials or gatherings at museums.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said, "New York City is hundreds of miles from the total solar eclipse that will be experienced in the Carolinas, but a partial eclipse can also do serious and permanent damage to the eyes. Even if it’s a cloudy day, we are asking that anybody who is outside Monday afternoon make special preparations and drive safely."

"New Yorkers have a rare opportunity to enjoy a partial solar eclipse, one of the most awe-inspiring events in nature," said NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. "Looking directly at a partial solar eclipse can permanently damage the eyes. It is best to enjoy this phenomenon safely by using proper eye protection. We ask New Yorkers to take safety precautions like using proper eclipse glasses or solar viewers."

Also: "New Yorkers who have to drive on Monday should know it will be a very unusual day, with dusk-like darkness in the middle of the afternoon," reminded NYC Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. "We are urging extra caution — especially in the 2pm hour, when we strongly recommend you drive with headlights."

The August 21 eclipse will have totality in a 70 mile-wide band stretching across the country in a diagonal path from Oregon to Georgia. Mayor de Blasio's office noted, "Total solar eclipses are exceedingly rare events, with New York City last experiencing one on January 24, 1925. The next major partial solar eclipse visible in New York City will be on April 8, 2024 (90 percent obscuration), while the next total solar eclipse visible in New York City will be on May 1, 2079."

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