By Chris Spears
DENVER (CBS4) – Grab a pen and mark your calendar for Monday, Aug. 21. That’s when a total solar eclipse will grace the sky.
The eclipse will begin on the northwest coast of Oregon and travel to the central coast of South Carolina.
It’ll be the first eclipse to cross the lower 48 U.S. states from coast to coast since 1918.
An eclipse occurs as the moon passes in between earth and the sun. The result is a shadow cast during the middle of the day that for some will resemble night.
“Animals behave differently. It’s like they suddenly came to nightfall. You hear insects making their nighttime noises,” said Dr. Steve Lee, a space scientist with the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.
The temperature can even drop a few degrees along the path of totality.
While most every American will be able to see the partially eclipsed sun, only a narrow path across the country will see the sun fully eclipsed.
In Colorado the sun will range from about 80 percent eclipsed in the southwest corner to over 95 percent in the northeast part of the state.
The sun will be about 92 percent eclipsed in Denver.
If you want to see the sun eclipsed entirely you will need to travel north into central Wyoming or western Nebraska to get into the path of totality.
Here’s an awesome website with an interactive map showing the eclipse across the nation.
No matter where you plan to be you will need to protect your eyes.
“There’s so much infrared light and ultraviolet light coming out of the sun that even staring directly at it for a couple of seconds is enough to permanently burn a spot in your retina,” said Lee.
You can purchase special glasses with built in filters that will allow you to look directly at the sun during the eclipse.
Meteorologist Chris Spears travels weekly in the CBS4 Mobile Weather Lab reporting about Colorado’s weather and climate. Check out his bio, connect with him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @ChrisCBS4.