Total solar eclipse, nasa
This sketch by Spanish astronomer José Joaquin de Ferrer, depicts the solar atmosphere, or corona, during a June 16, 1806, total solar eclipse.NASA/José Joaquin de Ferrer

We have been told a million times that we shouldn't stare directly at the sun during a solar eclipse, but now, NASA and a group of medical organisations state that gazing at a total solar eclipse is absolutely fine, provided when the sun is completely shadowed by the moon!

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A total solar eclipse is going to take place on August 21. The eclipse will pass over the US continental coast and skygazers can now enjoy a view of the eclipse with the naked eye, NASA and four medical organisations stated.

Skywatchers usually miss the path of totality (most of the time the eclipse takes place over water); which is why this one (which will take place over land) is considered a special celestial event.

Total solar eclipse, nasa
Map showing the path of the total solar eclipse, which will occur on August 21, 2017.Fred Espenak/NASA GSFC

"During those brief moments when the moon completely blocks the sun's bright face ... day will turn into night, making visible the otherwise hidden solar corona (the sun's outer atmosphere)," a statement by NASA said.

"Bright stars and planets will be visible as well. This is truly one of nature's most awesome sights," the NASA statement said.

People who will be in the "path of totality" which is as wide as 112 kilometres (70 miles) and spreads from Oregon to South Carolina, according to The eclipse will be visible for 2:40 minutes, depending on the location.

The American Astronomical Society (AAS), as well as the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Academy of Optometry and the National Science Foundation, along with NASA, have released the crucial guidelines to watch the total solar eclipse safely on August 21, 2017.