The entire country will be taking a pause on Monday, August 21, as a total solar eclipse will be visible across a broad swath of the United States, and partially in western Montana.

KGVO News spoke with Katherine Stocker, a post graduate student at the University of Montana with the NASA Space Consortium about the highly anticipated event.

"The last time that a total solar eclipse was visible in Montana was back in 1979," Stocker said. "In this instance, we'll have the shadow of the moon touching down from coast to coast across the U.S. The last time this happened was 99 years ago. A total solar eclipse is defined by the alignment of the sun, the moon and the earth, so as the earth goes around the sun and the moon goes around the earth, a total solar eclipse will happen when the moon is in between the earth and the sun. That shadow of the moon will touch down on the earth, and within that shadow we call the path of totality, will be able to see the total solar eclipse. However, everyone in the United States will be able to see a partial solar eclipse."

The eclipse will be visible from start to finish for about two hours in western Montana starting at about 10:30 a.m. Stocker said it is extremely dangerous to look at the eclipse even for just a few moments, as the cornea will act as a lens and the sun's rays could damage the optic nerve. With the availability of 'eclipse glasses' practically non-existent, Stocker provides instructions to craft a 'pinhole viewer'.

"If you have a couple of thick sheets of paper, drill a hole through the center and that will act as a filtering device," she said. "Hold that device horizontal to the ground and the light from the sun and the eclipse will shine through and you can actually see through the pinhole the shape of the crescent on the ground. That's how you can look at the eclipse without damaging your eyes."

The eclipse can also be viewed online as NASA will be live-streaming the event.

More From Alt 95.7