Sweeping across the continental United States on Aug. 21 is a total solar eclipse, which will occur for several hours and stretch from the West Coast to the East Coast. It’s a major natural spectacle, yet it's something that not everyone will be able to witness in the skies above.
The good news: there are alternate ways to watch the eclipse if one is not inside the path of totality or not keen on joining the thick crowds outside. Here are some ways to be part of the much-awaited event.
Eclipse Megamovie Project
For those who wonder where to achieve the best eclipse views or how it will look like from their patio (without them actually going out on eclipse day), UC Berkeley and Google collaborated on a simulator, a 90-minute video called the Eclipse Megamovie Project and piecing together time-stamped images from the public.
It’s simple to use. A user may enter his/her ZIP code or town/city name to see the animation of how the sun will move across the sky over the three-hour period. The motion is accelerated 1,000 or 4,000 times, revealing how much of a bite the moon will take out of the sun during eclipse.
It will also show a map of one’s location relative to the path of totality that covers 11 states in a 72-mile-wide band.
“Our simulation is closer to what one might experience in a planetarium show,” said Dan Zevin, project team member from UC Berkeley's Space Sciences Laboratory.
Live NASA Broadcast
NASA will host a live broadcast of the total solar eclipse on NASA TV, various news stations, and online streaming via YouTube, UStream, and similar services.
The four-hour broadcast, dubbed the 2017 Solar Eclipse Megacast, will have nationwide coverage thanks to on-ground students in the Eclipse Ballooning Project, where they will fly camera-equipped weather balloons sending back live footage.
The NASA live stream will also feature live feeds from ground telescopes, airplanes, and other sites along the path of totality.
Total Solar Eclipse App
The Exploratorium, San Francisco’s premier science museum, released the free Total Solar Eclipse app for iOS and Android for users to watch live streams as well as commentary from its in-house experts and NASA scientists.
The museum will also show silent feeds of the total eclipse, coming from Madras in Oregon and Casper in Wyoming. The former will get around two minutes of totality while the latter will have a slightly longer one.
For the first time, the Exploratorium will also produce an eclipse live stream in Spanish.
“The quality and depth of information available on this app is astonishing,” said Robyn Higdon, director of Museum Experience. “It includes a lot of basic astronomical science, but for those who want to go deeper it also provides a chance to spend time exploring past astronomical events and some fascinating principles of physics responsible for the mechanics of an eclipse.”