Lake Mead Recreational Area holding solar eclipse viewing party - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Lake Mead Recreational Area holding solar eclipse viewing party

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A solar eclipse is seen in Norway. (Photo: Associated Press) A solar eclipse is seen in Norway. (Photo: Associated Press)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

Lake Mead National Recreation Area is having a free solar eclipse viewing party at its visitor center on Aug. 21 from 9:00 a.m. to noon. 

The 2017 eclipse is the first total solar eclipse visible in the continental United States since Feb. 26, 1979. Prior to that, the last eclipse to traverse from coast to coast was June 8, 1918, according to the National Park Service. 

At Lake Mead, 71 percent of the sun will be eclipsed. The eclipse will begin at 9:09 a.m. and end at 11:53 a.m. with a peak at 10:28 a.m., NPS said. 

The National Park Service encouraged visitors to prepare to have a safe viewing opportunity during the eclipse. Looking at the sun directly, even just the sliver of sun visible before the total eclipse, can cause permanent eye damage. Homemade sun filters and regular sunglasses do not provide sufficient eye protection.

NPS said to view the sun during the eclipse, use eclipse glasses or a handheld solar viewer. The American Astronomical Society, a NASA partner, has verified that these manufacturers are making eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers that meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard for such products. In addition to making sure that eclipse shades or handheld viewers meet the ISO safety standard, they suggest making sure they're in good condition. If the filters are torn, scratched, punctured, or coming loose from their cardboard or plastic frames, discard them, NPS recommended.

For more information about the eclipse and for interactive maps, visit https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov. For more information about the viewing party, call 702-293-8990.

The next solar eclipse visible from the continental United States will be April 8, 2024.

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