DETROIT (WWJ) – For some it’s a first — the celestial event – which occurs when the moon blocks the path of the sun’s rays to Earth – is the first total eclipse in the U.S. in almost 40 years.

It’s what one University of Michigan professor of astronomy calls fun!

“In Michigan, we’re not in the line of totality, that’s what we call it,” says Edwin Bergin. “Where the sun in 100 percent blocked — we’re going to get about 80 percent blocked and if you have the right glasses to wear and the right equipment it can look really, really cool.”

Bergin says there will be telescopes out on the Diag for students to have a peek.

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“I’m a scientist and I love interacting with everyone and talking about science and here we go,” he says. “We’re going to have something happening in the sky — it’s going to bring people out and we’re going to be excited about – what? Well, understanding what’s going on — and that’s what we like to do — we like to explain what the natural world is doing – and that’s a joy.”

Shannon Schmoll director of Abrams Planetarium at Michigan State University says not everyone will be able to see the total eclipse.

While there will be a total eclipse in parts of the U.S. — Michigan will see about 80 percent of the sun covered.

“You need to be where the shadow is the darkest, this is called the path of totality. It will first be seen in the U.S. in Oregon and then follow a nearly straight path to South Carolina.”

The eclipse is expected to last around 2 hours from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., the maximum eclipse visible in Michigan at 2:20 p.m.

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Salem, Oregon is the first large city in the path of the eclipse, over 160,000 people live there and it’s expected that they’ll be host to a lot more people to view the eclipse Monday.

Wyoming is bracing for a population boom during Monday’s solar eclipse CBS News reports. Casper, Wyoming is said to be one of the best places to experience the celestial phenomenon — and the state with a population of about 600,000 could double in a day — and with only two major highways — one east and west — the other going north and south — could prove for a slow go. Authorities are warning drivers to gas-up and have plenty of water and snacks on hand.

“The number one rule for safe eclipse viewing is don’t improvise. If you don’t know, don’t chance it,” said one expert. “It’s not worth it. You really can damage your eyes.”

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