LISTEN: Philip Groce, a planetarium designer and eclipse chaser, talks about a March 1970 solar eclipse.

A total solar eclipse is seen on Monday, August 21, 2017 above Madras, Oregon. NASA.

A total solar eclipse is seen on Monday, August 21, 2017 above Madras, Oregon.

Credit: NASA

A photo of a partial eclipse images passing through tree leaves. Credit: Philip Groce.

A photo of a partial eclipse images passing through tree leaves.

Credit: Philip Groce

A partial eclipse at sunset, October 23, 2014. CreditPhilip Groce.

A partial eclipse at sunset, October 23, 2014.

Credit: Philip Groce

Partial eclipse on Oct. 23, 2014. Philip Groce.

Partial eclipse on Oct. 23, 2014.

Credit: Philip Groce

The total solar eclipse that will travel through the United States from Texas to Maine on Monday won't quite reach Georgia, which will see only a partial eclipse.

Around 1:45 p.m., the moon will start to move in front of the sun. It’ll reach its height around 3 p.m., with 65% to 90% of the sun blocked, depending on where you are in Georgia. By around 4:20 p.m., the moon will completely move away.

NASA’s Eclipse Explorer can tell you the timing for your location.

Groce is president of Helping Planetariums Succeed, a company that helps science centers and museums design observatories and planetariums. He’s also an eclipse chaser who lists at least four total solar eclipses and six partial solar eclipses that he’s seen.

It’s not safe to look directly at a solar eclipse, even a partial one. So, Groce says, you should only look up at the sky with specialized glasses.

But that's not the only option, he said.

“Instead of having this wider, bigger light source, it gets to be smaller and smaller," said Philip Groce about a partial solar eclipse. "And that means that the shadows get sharper and sharper. And so the landscapes get interesting.

“Find a tree that's got some leaves and look on the ground," he said. "Put a white sheet on the ground, and you will see many, many images of the eclipse."

Eclipse viewing parties are happening all over the state. Groce encourages everyone to experience the eclipse on Monday, whether it's the partial eclipse or the total eclipse. 

Solar eclipses are special to Groce.

“For me, astronomical events are reasons to kind of mark your life by, and they have always been that way," he said. "For thousands of years, humankind has treated them that way. And they’re scary. If you’ve never seen a total eclipse of the sun, you have basically missed a life-changing event. And I’m not exaggerating.” 

Groce said he saw his first partial solar eclipse in 1963 when he was 13. He's seen total solar eclipses in 2017 and 1979. He said he even drove 25 hours to Nova Scotia to see the total solar eclipse in 1972: the same one Carly Simon sang about in her hit single "You’re So Vain."

He said if the weather’s good on Monday, at the sites of the total solar eclipse, the sky will change from day to night. You'll be able to see stars, planets, maybe a comet, and a 360-degree sunset.

But he said the best eclipse he’s ever experienced is one he didn’t see. It was in March 1970 and it was cloudy. He was on a farm with animals all around.

“[When the moon passed in front of the sun] all the guineas flew up into the pine trees," he said. "The chickens flew into the roost. The cows and the horses laid down in the field. The temperature dropped about 10 degrees. Flowers began to close. And the frogs started croaking.

“It was, in my experience, the best eclipse I ever had, and I didn't see it. And because I was forced to actually pay attention to the environment. And, it was pretty amazing.”

Groce said he thinks Monday’s eclipse will be his last. The next total solar eclipse over the contiguous United States will be on Aug. 23, 2044 — 20 years in the future.

And someday, he said, there won’t be total solar eclipses.

“We know the moon is gradually moving away from the Earth…[A long time from now] the moon will be too far away to totally block the sun,” he said. “And so, its kind of amazing when you think about it, that we are here on this planet, in this moment in time, to be able to experience one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring events that nature has ever presented.”

For this eclipse, Groce plans to spend it with his son in Mexico.

“Hopefully, we’ll be sitting somewhere drinking tequila and watching the moon pass in front of the sun,” he said.