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Moon blots out some of the sun during Thursday’s partial solar eclipse

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Posted at 6:49 PM, Oct 23, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-23 18:51:44-04

(CNN) — Maybe your mother told you it’s not polite to stare.

It’s not safe either, NASA says, if you’re looking at Thursday’s partial solar eclipse.

“Don’t stare,” NASA says. “Even at maximum eclipse, a sliver of sun peeking out from behind the Moon can still cause pain and eye damage. Direct viewing should only be attempted with the aid of a safe solar filter.”

The show in the sky reached its height at 5:45 p.m. ET, NASA says, meaning the Eastern half of the country got a view before the backdrop of golden twilight hues.

The moon clipped the sun, making it look like a fingernail as it set in the west for most of the country and Canada.

People living in the Central Time Zone had the best view, NASA says. New England and Hawaii will miss out on this one.

Protect your eyes

While enjoying the view, protect your eyes, NASA says.

There are some old tricks to viewing indirectly, like punching a hole in cardboard and projecting the light seeping through it onto a surface away from the sun.

Or let a tree do the work for you.

“Overlapping leaves create a myriad of natural little pinhole cameras, each one casting an image of the crescent-sun onto the ground beneath the canopy,” NASA says.

If you miss this one, the next solar eclipse over North America will occur in about three years — and it will be a more dramatic and rarer total eclipse.