A thousand years ago, people would dread the day of a solar eclipse, their elders for told about the destruction and ruin on the day of totality. Now we understand what is going on, the moon is blocking out the sun. Today will be the first time in history for a total solar eclipse to only touch American soil and go coast to coast. This first Great American eclipse will block out 90 percent of the sun’s light for millions of Americans, something that will not happen again for many years. Here are some important dos and don’ts for watching the eclipse.

Do not look directly at the sun. Any amount of time looking at the sun could burn your retina, potentially leading to permanent vision loss.  Almost immediately stores were sold out of solar eclipse viewing glasses, if you ending up not getting a pair, the best way to view the eclipse is to look down to the shadow. The entire experience is more than totality, the temperature will go down, nocturnal animals will emerge, birds will fall silent. Do take it all in, the next one isn’t for many years.

Capturing the eclipse by taking your camera and pointing it at the eclipse is a bad idea. Just like your eyes need protection, your camera needs protection too. Without proper protection, your camera could be damaged beyond repair. Cover your camera lenses with solar eclipse view glasses, zoom in and turn off your flash. The eclipse is brief, don’t spend all your time trying to photograph it.

Do not use any binoculars/telescopes during the eclipse. Looking directly at the sun for even a split second can burn your eyes and leave you blind. Totality is brief, and if you are not being safe you can cause serious damage to your eyes. Take this opportunity to experience something that only happens once in a lifetime.

Don’t be worried about capturing the eclipse, take it all in because if only for a moment, you will witness a part of the cosmic dance between us and our universe. The great American eclipse is upon us, be safe and enjoy the choreography designed by our solar system.