You'll neeed special viewing glasses for the eclipse. Credit: Getty Images
You'll neeed special viewing glasses for the eclipse. Credit: Getty Images

While it’s felt like Mercury has been in retrograde all year, a legit astronomical phenomenon will occur on Aug. 21.

 

A solar eclipse is coming, but it’s a way bigger deal than usual. The phenomenon — when the moon floats between the sun and Earth and blots out the sun — occurs about every 1.5 years. The one coming up on Aug. 21 is unusual because the eclipse will be visible throughout North America for the first time since 1918.

 

Just because we’re only getting a partial eclipse here in NYC, you’ll still need to be prepared with the right equipment like eclipse viewing glasses or handheld solar viewers, or risk permanently damaging your eyesight. (And no, very dark sunglasses won’t protect you.)

 

Get ready for the big event by learning more about the science behind the phenomenon, improve your Instas of the eclipse and score freebies, including protective eyewear, at these pre-eclipse events.

 

Score the best shot

 

The eclipse will last less than three minutes, so your window for getting the perfect photo is very small. Manhattan photography store Adorama is holding a couple of educational sessions to get you ready: Photojournalist Stan Honda will explain how to use your DSLR and mirrorless cameras, as well as the software and apps you need to capture that perfect picture (Aug. 6, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.), while Cannon’s Ken Sklute reviews how to safely and creatively capture the eclipse (Aug. 10, 6-8 p.m.)

Nerd out about space

Bring on the booze and science with Astronomy on Tap, a group of fun-loving geeks who pair their science with beer, in Brooklyn on Aug. 9. From 7:30 to 10 p.m., Eclipse 101 is in session at the Way Station bar, plus trivia and prizes; RSVP on the group’s Facebook event page to get free eclipse glasses.

See the stars at a Brooklyn bar

Drinks, chili dogs and DIY pinhole projector-making? Sorry, kids — the New York Hall of Science’s After Dark Field Trip: Solar Eclipse Prep on Aug. 15 is only for those 21 and older. Get to Greenpoint’s The Diamond (43 Franklin St.) where astronomy experts will share science tidbits on the upcoming eclipse and help guests view the NYC sky through telescopes from 7:30 to 10 p.m. Good luck seeing the stars.