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.
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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
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 (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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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