Get Ready for the Solar Eclipse
With a total solar eclipse set to occur today, you'll need to keep track of more than just the path of totality. Thankfully, many mobile apps can help you make the most out of the experience by providing you with everything from reference materials to weather forecasts to interactive guides. Some include live streaming options, so you can join the hundreds of millions expected to tune in online.
After you check out these apps for your iPhone or Android device to plan out your eclipse viewing party, turn to our sister site Space.com for the latest news and detailed information on the the 2017 solar eclipse.
Image Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty
Smithsonian Eclipse 2017 (Android, iOS: Free)
Smithsonian's dedicated eclipse app (Android, iOS) gives space aficionados direct access to NASA's live stream of the eclipse as it moves across the country, as well as a virtual depiction of the event powered by the SkySafari 5 engine. There's also a built-in portal to Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory's solar research for reference purposes, a countdown timer and an interactive map of the eclipse's path that you can customize based on your location.
Image Credit: Simulation Curriculum
NASA (Android, iOS: Free)
For more of NASA's in-depth streaming eclipse coverage, check out its app (available on Android and iOS). The NASA news crew will be covering the eclipse from Charleston, Oregon, Idaho, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee. The app will also prove as an excellent means to see tons of excellent eclipse photography, as NASA constantly adds to its gallery of more than 15,000 images.
Totality App by Big Kid Science (Android, iOS: Free)
Totality (Android, iOS) makes it easy to determine how much of the total solar eclipse you'll be able to see from your location, as well as the closest spot from which you'll be able to the see the eclipse in its entirety. There's also an educational component, which explains the how and why of the eclipse, and a guide to viewing future eclipses. Some of the learning activities aimed at school-age children include building a pinhole camera and exploring how shadows work.
Image Credit: Germinate LLC
Clear Outside (Android, iOS: Free)
Clear Outside (Android, iOS) can help ensure that your travel destination offers a pristine view suitable for experiencing the total solar eclipse. The app gives a seven-day forecast with hourly updates, data on nautical and astronomical darkness, and the cloud cover level to expect. The app can access your location automatically to give you local forecasts, or you can input several different potential destinations to pick the best spot for your eclipse viewing.
Image Credit: First Light Optics
Solar Eclipse Timer (Android, iOS: $1.99)
Solar Eclipse Timer (Android, iOS) provides a step-by-step voice guide to the eclipse as it nears totality, with information on environmental changes, when to wear your solar eclipse glasses and the best photography tips for capturing the moment. All you need to do is enable location tracking on the app, and Solar Eclipse Time will calculate the precise timing of the different stages. It's one of the more technical options on the list, but the app's interface and voice features make it one of the most useful.
Image Credit: Foxwood Astronomy
Space & Astronomy News (Android, iOS: Free)
The Space & Astronomy News app (Android, iOS) has a fluid interface and constantly updated news sources, keeping you tuned in to the latest headlines. Be sure to read up on all the news of the total solar eclipse and related scientific topics, so you can be well-informed for the event. The app also includes a social component, with the ability to create a personal profile, recommend articles and earn community badges.
Image Credit: Newsfusion
SkySafari 5 (Android, iOS: $2.99)
SkySafari 5 (Android, iOS) is a great tool for surveying the night sky and learning all about space, with a focus on its history and mythology. This app provides a completely offline experience, with animated astrological events, a night-vision mode, and access to a database of 120,000 stars and over 200 star clusters. In the latest update, developer Simulation Curriculum added in an eclipse feature, which tells you when the eclipse will start at your location and how long it will last.
Image Credit: Simulation Curriculum
NASA Globe Observer (Android, iOS: Free)
The NASA Globe Observer app (Android, iOS) welcomes users from across the world to record scientific observations to help improve NASA's satellite data and prevent mosquito-borne illnesses. The Cloud Observer section helps you document cloud cover at your location, while the Mosquito Habitat Mapper lets you map the locations of mosquito habitats. Both sections feature helpful graphics and intuitive interfaces, which makes entering in detailed observations a fun and rewarding process. By the time the next total eclipse happens above the U.S., in 2024, this data could help you find the clearest and most insect-free locations
Image Credit: NASA
Star Walk 2 (Android, iOS: $2.99)
Star Walk 2 (Android, iOS) is an AR-friendly interactive astronomical telescope that shows a detailed map of the sky in whatever direction you point your device. It's mainly a reference tool for exploring deep-space objects and tracking satellites in real time, but other cool features include a time-travel mode and a slider that lets you see the sky in different wavelengths. It might not include anything specific to the 2017 eclipse, but Star Walk remains an engaging way to discover the wonders of the sky.
Image Credit: Vito Technology
Eclipse Safari (Android, iOS: Free)
Eclipse Safari (Android, iOS) features a countdown timer to the total eclipse, as well as an interactive map for finding the best place to experience the event, live social media updates and all the latest news straight from our sister site, Space.com. There's also built-in access to a live stream of the eclipse, visualizations of the event powered by SkySafari 5 and some helpful fact sheets about the event.
Image Credit: Simulation Curriculum
Total Solar Eclipse by the Exploratorium (Android, iOS: Free)
Total Solar Eclipse (Android, iOS) can tell you how much of the eclipse you will be able to observe from your location. The app grants access to five separate live streams, including one hosted by Exploratorium educators and NASA scientists, a Spanish-language broadcast, silent 3-hour live telescope views as seen from Oregon and Wyoming, and a live telescope view with musical accompaniment by the Kronos Quartet. The app also lets you share and view videos of the eclipse (and last year's eclipse, from Micronesia) from social media sites.
Image Credit: Exploratorium
Solar Activity K-Index (Android: Free)
The Solar Activity app reports the Planetary K index (geomagnetic thermal activity levels) straight from the Space Weather Prediction Center, a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The app's simple interface shows detailed levels of thermal activity for the next four days and general levels for the next 27 days, while also archiving data for the past month. It's a great way to keep track of some of the coolest solar phenomenon, and it's worth noting that high K index levels can affect everything from electrical power grids to spacecraft operations.
Image Credit: Ivan Piskliukov
Eclipse Megamovie Mobile Total Solar Eclipse 2017 (Android: Free)
Eclipse Megamovie Mobile turns to crowdsourcing to build a comprehensive library of eclipse photos from across the country, while helping guide users through the process of taking the best possible photos. Ultimately, the app will share this imaging data with Ideum and the Space Sciences Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, which will use the stitched-together composition to study the sun's corona.
Image Credit: Ideum Software
Solar Eclipse by Redshift (iOS: $1.99)
Solar Eclipse by Redshift provides four different simulations of the eclipse: from your current location, the best possible viewing location, from orbit around the Earth or from the Sun itself. An educational component helps users learn all about eclipses (those that occurred or will occur between 1990 and 2100), with scientific explanations and quick facts accompanied by graphic and multimedia explanations.
Image Credit: USM