Here are the best ways to safely view the 2024 Solar Eclipse in the Bay Area

TAMPA - As the moon passes between the sun and the Earth next Monday, experts in Tampa Bay say you might feel the temperature cool down, and when you look up, you’ll see a partial eclipse.

"Here in Tampa, we expect to see about 60% occultation, which is still pretty good," Jose Cotayo, an education specialist at MOSI, said. "It will look like the moon has taken a bite out of the sun. But basically what's happening, is the moon itself, as it orbits the Earth, it’s casting a shadow."

Cotayo says the best way to easily view the eclipse is with solar eclipse sunglasses, which are specifically designed to look at the eclipse.

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"12312-2," Cotayo said. "That is the certification that they need to have for you to safely, directly view the sun."

But doctors have an important warning for people before they look up into the sky.

"When you have this sort of event where it's a partial or total eclipse, your eyes aren't going to react the normal way they might, because it's just not as bright," Dr. Raj Kotak, the Chief Medical Officer with AdventHealth, said.

Dr. Kotak says typically, your eyes react normally, like blinking or closing, when you look up into the sun. He says this, alone, can be harmful and damage your eyes. But during an eclipse, he says it’s not as bright, so your eyes don’t react the same way. If you don’t use some type of filter when viewing the eclipse, Dr. Kotak says it could cause serious damage.

"Because of those damaging rays that come through, and without the brightness of the normal sun, those rays get through, they can damage your eye to the point where you realize it later. Not right away. And it can lead to complete blindness, temporary, permanent," Dr. Kotak said.

Experts say everyday sunglasses won’t protect your eyes during the eclipse. Cotayo says they will also have a viewing event on Monday, and will have solar telescopes that can also be used to look at the eclipse. He says you should never point a telescope directly at the sun, unless it’s specifically designed to look at the sun.

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If you don’t have solar eclipse glasses or other tools to look at the eclipse, doctors say there are some ways you can still view it.

"If you take simply a paper with a hole punched in it, and you allow the sun or the rays to cast through there, and you can look at the shadow on the ground, it's as simple as it gets, but you can still see the eclipse," Dr. Kotak said.

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In the Bay Area, experts say the eclipse will start on Monday around 1:40 p.m. and last until around 4 p.m.

They say the next total solar eclipse that can be seen in the U.S. will be in August 2044.

For a list of places where you can get eclipse glasses, click here.

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