I know the Internet is exciting, but depending on where you live, you’ll want to step away from your computer for a bit today, as parts of America bear witness by a total eclipse of the sun. It’s the first total solar eclipse witnessed on the continental United States since February 26, 1979, and the spectacle will cut a path ranging from Oregon in the North, to Georgia in the South. Suffice to say, this doesn’t happen every day. But what if you’re not near the eclipse’s path? Thankfully, you don’t have to miss out, as there are plenty of places to view the solar eclipse…
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NASA is one of many organizations streaming live views of the 2017 total solar eclipse Aug. 21.
WATCH LIVE HERE FROM NASA
The eclipse is here! Updated Aug. 21 with final webcast details. You can watch all the major NASA webcasts on one page here.
Experience 2017’s total solar eclipse virtually: People outside the eclipse path, under cloudy skies or hoping to stay indoors have plenty of options to watch the celestial event live.
REMEMBER: During totality, when the sun’s disk is completely covered by the moon, it is safe to view the eclipse with the naked eye. But skywatchers should NEVER look at a partial solar eclipse without proper eye protection. Looking directly at the sun, even when it is partially covered by the moon, can cause serious eye damage or blindness. See our complete guide to find out how to view the eclipse safely.
A total solar eclipse occurs when the disk of the moon appears to completely cover the disk of the sun in the sky. The fact that total solar eclipses occur at all is a quirk of cosmic geometry. The moon orbits an average of 239,000 miles (385,000 kilometers) from Earth — just the right distance to seem the same size in the sky as the much-larger sun. However, these heavenly bodies line up only about once every 18 months.
Outside the path of totality, skywatchers in the continental U.S. and other nearby areas will see a partial solar eclipse, in which the moon appears to take a bite out of the sun’s disk. Two to five solar eclipses occur each year on average, but total solar eclipses happen just once every 18 months or so.
During a total solar eclipse, the disk of the moon blocks out the last sliver of light from the sun, and the sun’s outer atmosphere, the corona, becomes visible. The corona is far from an indistinct haze; skywatchers report seeing great jets and ribbons of light, twisting and curling out into the sky.
“It brings people to tears,” Rick Fienberg, a spokesperson for the American Astronomical Society (AAS), told Space.com of the experience. “It makes people’s jaw drop.”
During totality, the area inside the moon’s shadow is cloaked in twilight — a very strange feeling to experience in the middle of the day. Just before and just after totality, observers can see this cloak of darkness moving toward them across the landscape, and then moving away.
These effects are not visible during a partial solar eclipse, so skywatchers are encouraged to see if they are inside the path of totality during the total eclipse.
The path of totality for the Aug. 21, 2017, total solar eclipse is about 70 miles wide and stretches from Oregon to South Carolina. It passes through Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
Here are more places recommended by Space.com to watch the solar eclipse:
Whether you want expert commentary, eclipse history and legends, music derived from the shadow’s path or just clear views of the disappearing sun, livestreamed webcasts on this list should have you covered. (We will be constantly updating this list with new webcasts and live streams as they are announced.)
Visit the Space.com homepage for live eclipse views from NASA, and see our best livestream picks on our watch live page — but read on to choose from the many livestream options available. [Total Solar Eclipse 2017: When, Where and How to See It (Safely)]
NASA’s livestream, called “Eclipse Across America: Through the Eyes of NASA,” will feature live views of the eclipse, from viewers around the world, 11 spacecraft and three NASA aircraft; and from more than 50 high-altitude balloons and astronauts on the International Space Station; plus views of eclipse celebration events across the country, NASA said in a statement. Viewers may also expect commentary and presentations by NASA scientists; the webcast will last for multiple hours. Watch NASA’s eclipse webcast here — there are options to watch through NASA Edge, NASA TV, Ustream, YouTube and more. NASA’s Facebook page will carry a 4K, 360 degree livestream of the eclipse from Charleston, South Carolina.
Slooh, the online community observatory, is hosting a three-day celebration of the eclipse in Stanley, Idaho, and will provide live coverage of the event itself as the eclipse races from coast to coast. The online observatory will also feature commentary from experts “covering everything from the science of eclipses, advice on how to observe the eclipse from your own backyard, together with [its] team of cultural correspondents, who will shed light on the history and spirituality of eclipses.” You can watch that webcast at Slooh.com starting at 12 p.m. EDT (1600 GMT), and we will also stream it live on Space.com, courtesy of Slooh.
The Eclipse Ballooning Project, in collaboration with NASA and the online video platform Stream, will be broadcasting live views of the eclipse from the edge of space through more than 57 cameras sent up on weather balloons across the country here: http://eclipse.stream.live/
Exploratorium, a science museum based in San Francisco, will produce five livestreams of the eclipse as filmed from two locations starting at 12 p.m. EDT (1600 GMT). The streams will include: silent telescope feeds from Madras, Oregon and Casper, Wyoming; Spanish and English narrated eclipse feeds with telescope views from both locations; and a special “sonification” of the eclipse by Kronos Quartet, a string instrument group, streamed from the Exploratorium’s campus in San Francisco: https://www.exploratorium.edu/eclipse (The streams are also available on their app for on-the-go watching)
EarthCam will broadcast live views from 45 different camera locations, watching shadows pass over cities like Seattle, St. Paul, St. Louis and New York City, and look in on the bears at ZooMontana in Billings, Montana and giraffes at Greenville Zoo in South Carolina to see their reactions to the unexpected twilight. Check out views from the many webcams starting with San Francisco at 12:01 p.m. EDT (1600 GMT): https://www.earthcam.com/events/solareclipse/2017/
ABC will air a two-hour special on the eclipse starting at 1 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT). It will be anchored by David Muir and will feature reporters checking in from viewing parties and events, and interviewing people as they watch the eclipse, according to Brian Steinberg at Variety. Meteorologists Ginger Zee and Rob Marciano will also weigh in from Nashville, Tennessee, and Lincoln City, Oregon, respectively. The broadcast will also air on http://abcnews.go.com/live as well as Facebook Live and YouTube.
CNN and Volvo will provide a 360-degree view of the eclipse with 4K resolution from different locations along the eclipse path. The stream will also be viewable in virtual reality, which people can navigate by moving a phone or virtual reality headset. The livestream begins at 12:03 p.m. EDT (1603 GMT): http://www.cnn.com/specials/vr/total-solar-eclipse-2017/
USA Today Network and Instagram have partnered to livestream the eclipse and interview viewers on the scene from multiple locations along its path: Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina. USA Today Network will also broadcast a Facebook Live with feeds from NASA, AP and local networks. Find the livestreams here: https://www.solareclipse.usatoday.com
Science Channel will broadcast views from Madras, Oregon, in partnership with the Lowell Observatory, according to Patrick Hipes at Deadline.com, starting at 12 p.m. EDT (1600 GMT) and will feature retired astronaut Mike Massimino as host based in Charleston, South Carolina. In addition to the live coverage, Science Channel will air an hourlong overview of the eclipse at 9 p.m. EDT (0100 on Aug. 22 GMT) — competing with PBS’ NOVA, which will also be airing a documentary about the day’s events at 9. More details from Science Channel: https://www.sciencechannel.com/tv-shows/great-american-eclipse/
Virtual Telescope Project will host a free online observing session with views of the total solar eclipse beginning at 1 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT), with footage from a team of collaborators around the globe, according to Virtual Telescope Project’s Gianluca Masi. Watch it here: https://www.virtualtelescope.eu/webtv/
Western Sol is a short film that will be shot and streamed live during the eclipse from a movie-set replica ghost town in Wyoming. The movie by Slackline Films, which features a rancher forced to rob a bank, will begin at around 12:25 p.m. EDT (1645 GMT), featuring an in-story and real totality 13 minutes later. Watch it on Facebook or YouTube here: https://www.westernsol.com/watch (the links should appear at the film’s start time)
You can find additional eclipse livestreams on these YouTube channels: The Weather Channel, PBS NewsHour, Telemundo, Univision, Washington Post, TIME, NBC News, CBS News
Editor’s note: Space.com has teamed up with Simulation Curriculum to offer this awesome Eclipse Safari app to help you enjoy your eclipse experience. The free app is available for Apple and Android, and you can view it on the web. If you take an amazing photo of the Aug. 21 solar eclipse, let us know! Send photos and comments to: email@example.com.
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