First, what is it?
The celestial event occurs when the moon passes between the sun and Earth, and blocks all or part of the sun for up to about 3 hours, from beginning to end. For this particular eclipse, the longest period when the moon completely blocks the sun from any given location will be about 2 minutes and 40 seconds, according to NASA.
The last time the contiguous U.S. saw a total eclipse? 1979.
Several things you should NOT do during the solar eclipse:
Do NOT use do-it-yourself solar filters. Eclipse viewing glasses with solar filters and ISO 12312-2 certification are the only safe way to look directly at the sun. And no, your dog doesn't need eclipse glasses. Most animals know better than to look at the sun, and may actually use the darkening sky as a sign that it's time for a nap.
Do NOT put on eclipse glasses, and then look through binoculars. The concentrated solar rays will damage the filter, and enter your eyes, causing serious injury. Solar filters must be attached to the FRONT of any binoculars, telescope, or camera lens.
Don't wear your eclipse glasses during the brief moment of totality. If, and only if, you are in the thing path of totality--where day will turn to night for about 2 minutes--remove your glasses during that time. The instant it's over, put the special glasses back on. (Note that MS is NOT in the path of totality)
Don't just watch the sky. The celestial show will alter your surroundings in amazing and eerie ways. Kate Russo, who's traveled the world seeking out total solar eclipses say there are changes to the environment, the temperature has dropped, the wind has picked up, the light is really wrong and than that approaching shadow is just so wrong and exciting and euphoric.
She says it's a moment you'll remember for the rest of your life!
Another awesome link for questions: