By Jon Delano

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — When the solar eclipse passes over this area on Monday afternoon, it doesn’t matter where you are as long as your eyes are protected.

“You can make a pin-hole viewer and just look at it in your own backyard,” says Ralph Crewe, program coordinator for the Carnegie Science Center.

Organizations like the Carnegie Science Center are promoting safe eclipse viewing.

“On the day of the great American eclipse we’ve got a lot of activities set up,” Crewe told KDKA money editor Jon Delano.

“My favorite is probably right here. This is a solar observing telescope. We’ll have several of these set up around the perimeter of the Science Center. People will be able to come up and take a look at the sun directly.”

Crewe says they’ll also have a couple hundred special glasses to share to look at the eclipse.

And in the planetarium, watch real time video of the eclipse as it crosses the United States.

A solar eclipse is when a new moon — that’s a moon you cannot see — gets between the sun and the earth casting a shadow on the earth.

What makes this solar eclipse so unique is that it is occurring in the United States.

The USA is only 3 percent of the world’s surface, so it’s rare indeed to happen here.

The last time we had a solar eclipse in the USA was back in 1979, and the last time we had an eclipse that went coast to coast was in 1918.

And get this, the last time we had a solar eclipse that was only in the United States was back in the 1200s, nearly a thousand years ago.

In addition to the Science Center, a number of organizations have programs on Monday like the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, Rachel Carson Homestead, St. Vincent College Science Pavilion, and many local libraries.

For astronomers and the rest of us, this eclipse, says Crewe, “It’s very rare. It’s very exciting.”