Onlookers will have an opportunity to view a rare astronomical event on Monday, Aug. 21: a total solar eclipse across the U.S.

Here's a look some of the methods people have used to catch a glimpse of an eclipse — not always safely — from the beginning of the 20th century to the present day. 

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(Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Telescopes large and small

On Jan. 14, 1907, people in Kazakhstan use telescopes to view a solar eclipse from a snow-covered peak in the Tian-Shan mountains.

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(Library of Congress)

Bellows camera

Would-be astronomers in Paris gaze upward, aligning a bellows camera and other optical equipment, including a telescope, toward a total eclipse of the sun on April 17, 1912.

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(Hulton Archive/Getty Images)


This woman looks at a solar eclipse through goggles set in a mask at an unknown location on April 8, 1921.

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(Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

Nursing section

A group of nurses observe the June 29, 1927, solar eclipse through special dark glasses in Lancashire, England.

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(Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Protective film

Eclipse watchers squint through protective film as they view a partial eclipse of the sun from the top deck of New York's Empire State Building on Aug. 31, 1932.

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(Associated Press)

Water bucket

One of the lowest-tech ways to witness the eclipse is to fill a bucket with water and look at the reflection, which these children at the South Harringay school in London did on June 30, 1954.

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(Fred Morley/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Cardboard viewer

Ginnie Bailey reaches for a cardboard viewer held by her father, Robert Bailey, as the eclipsed sun begins to burn through a cloud cover that all but obscured a view of the total solar eclipse in Valdosta, Georgia, on March 7, 1970.

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(Joe Holloway, Jr./Associated Press)

'Sun peep mask'

About 1,000 astronomers and spectators, including someone wearing a 'sun peep mask,' gathered at Observatory Hill in Goldendale, Wash., to watch a solar eclipse on Feb. 26, 1979.

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(Wes Guderian/The Oregonian/Associated Press) (Wes Guderian/The Oregonian/Associated Press)

Video monitor

And if you can't get outside, there's always video. These participants stay overnight at the Exploratorium in San Francisco to view the millennium's last solar eclipse, using high-speed internet connections and video links from a field station on the path of totality in Amasya, Turkey, on Aug. 11, 1999.

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(John G. Mabanglo/AFP/Getty Images)