CARBONDALE, Ill. — Illinois public health experts are asking residents to take safety precautions before next month’s solar eclipse.

Illinois Department of Public Health director Nirav Shah says looking at the sun without eclipse glasses or solar viewers can cause retinal burns. He says ordinary sunglasses or homemade filter’s aren’t safe. Instead the department says those who want to safely view the eclipse should purchase special eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers. More information is available on the American Astronomical Society’s website .

The eclipse is expected to last from about 12 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. on Aug. 21 in Illinois. Portions of southern Illinois are expected to be in the path of totality, or when the moon will completely block the sun. Totality in the Carbondale will last up to 2 minutes and 40 seconds.

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