A total solar eclipse is coming to the United States, and while Maryland is not in the narrow path of totality, we can expect to see 80%-90% of the sun blocked by the moon, depending on where you are in the state.

Being in the path of totality, where the moon completely blocks the sun because of a lucky cosmological coincidence, has been described as an otherworldly experience.

The sky will darken, the temperature will drop and there may be an eerie silence if you’re standing in the path of totality, according to NASA. In the path of totality, a person can briefly look at the sun without wearing special protection.

Maryland will not see anything so dramatic. The sky will not darken (though in Maryland it will dim), and you cannot look directly at the sun without protection. But it’s still an interesting experience worth preparing for.

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The path of totality will not pass over Maryland, but parts of the state will see up to 90% of the sun blocked (Courtesy image/NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio)

What to expect during a partial eclipse

In Maryland, the sun will be 80%-90% blocked, depending on where you are. Since that’s more than 50% blocked, the sun will appear dimmer during the eclipse. Some animals might change their behavior, according to The Planetary Society — crickets might chirp, or birds might stop singing, for example.

Notably, shadows will look different, too. Look for the shadows of leaves or bring out a colander to create shadows and you’ll see a crescent-shaped silhouette.

The total eclipse will last a matter of minutes along the path of totality. The eclipse happens in stages — look at the sun, you’ll see more and more of it covered by the moon — and it will peak in Baltimore around 3:21 p.m. The total transit of the moon over the sun will last about two and a half hours.

How to get eclipse glasses

The only way to safely look at the sun and see the partial solar eclipse is with specialty glasses that filter out the light.

If you’re looking for eclipse glasses, you should make sure they adhere to international standards by looking for the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) code 12312-2 on it somewhere. The American Astronomical Society keeps a list of reputable vendors online.

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Baltimoreans can also get a pair of eclipse glasses from their local Enoch Pratt Free Library branch. The supply is limited, and you can only take one pair per customer.

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Meghan McCorkell, a spokeswoman for the library, said every branch has glasses and she has not yet heard of any running out.

But, she said, there’s a “very limited” number of glasses across the library system, so she suggests calling your local branch ahead of time to see if there are any pairs remaining.

Warby Parker stores are also giving away eclipse glasses. There are a Warby Parker outlet in the Towson Town Center and another at 807 Aliceanna Street in Harbor East. The Mall in Columbia also has a Warby Parker store.

I want to see the total eclipse. Is it too late?

The eclipse is on Monday, and the path of totality is both narrow and not very close to Maryland. Closest to Maryland, the path of totality travels through Ohio, upstate New York and the very northwest corner of Pennsylvania.

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If you don’t already have travel plans or reservations, it may be tough to make them now. Heavy congestion is expected after the totality (it lasted more than 12 hours in 2017) and local authorities are warning residents to stock up on gas and groceries.

The United States will have another coast-to-coast total eclipse in, wait for it, 2045.

How to view otherwise

In addition to walking outside and experiencing the eclipse for yourself, there are multiple livestreams that will show the eclipse from around the country. NASA and the Associated Press are both good places to start.