On Monday, August 21, 2017, a total eclipse of the Sun will be visible within a narrow corridor that traverses the United States from west to east. Observers in the lower 48 states get to see at least a partial solar eclipse, when the Sun is partially covered by the Moon. Only the fourteen states in the path of totality will see the Sun totally covered by the Moon. The Kansas City metropolitan area, and specifically St. Joseph, MO, are included the path.
Watching a total eclipse can be done safely with proper eye protection. Staring at the Sun outside of the window of total coverage by the moon, and/or without proper eyewear or techniques, will likely damage your eyes. The only safe time to look at an eclipse with the naked eye is during the total phase of a total eclipse.
Eyewear used for eclipse viewing must meet certain safety standards. American Paper Optics, Rainbow Symphony, and Thousand Oaks Optical are NASA-approved manufacturers of safety glasses. There are also instructions on making handheld devices like the pinhole viewer on the internet (see Viewing Safety Tips tab).