It is imperative to stay safe. There’s nothing especially dangerous in viewing an eclipse. It is just the same if viewing the Sun at any time. But, the Sun is so bright, one needs to dim it 100,000 times. The best filtering design is to have a solar filter PRIOR to any equipment and your eyes. Don’t forget to remove or block any finderscopes! Also, the filter needs to be designed for solar viewing. There are many materials and techniques out there, but only a few are proper for prolonged viewing. If you are not sure, please ask.
The August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse is the first total solar eclipse to occur in the contiguous US since 1979. The last total eclipse like this one, in which the path stretched across the US, was in 1918! There will be much hype and anticipation in the social media.
The true goal is to be able to see it and enjoy its splendor. You are riding on the planet Earth that is spinning every day. But this day, the Moon will travel in front of the Sun from west to east and align perfectly with you and the Earth. You will be bathed in the Moon’s shadow as it passes over you!
The path of totality is very narrow, about 70 miles wide. If you are inside this path, you will see the Moon completely block the Sun and you will be able to see the Sun’s much fainter Corona. The Corona is wispy and ghostly white. It’s brightness is about that of the full moon at night. It is the outermost layer of the Sun comprised of highly energized particles. Its low density and high charge translates into a very high temperature of millions of degrees.