The first solar eclipse visible across the entire U.S. since 1918 is happening in a few short weeks. On Aug. 21, 2017, you’ll have the chance to witness this amazing event—even if you don’t live near the path of totality.
Here are a few new apps designed to give you the best eclipse-viewing experience as possible. Oh, and remember: Don’t look at the eclipse directly, not without special sunglasses. In fact, these apps are safer; maybe stick with them.
1. Eclipse Safari
Brought to you by Space.com, this app covers all your eclipse needs. Eclipse Safari is free and available for both Android and Apple devices. This app includes a countdown timer, an interactive map, a viewing guide, and even a live-stream option so that you won’t miss a single detail of the event.
2. Smithsonian Eclipse 2017
Here is another fully-loaded app. You can calculate your view with its interactive map, or check out a virtual eclipse simulator. This app is also offering a live-stream from NASA at the time of the event.
3. NASA Globe Observer
This app focuses on a user-created experience. Globe Observer has people observe and record the world around them, uploading the information to the app. These crowd-sourced details help NASA interpret and understand satellite data collected from space. You can share your personal eclipse moment while also contributing to scientific research.
4. Total Solar Eclipse
If you’re looking for the most comprehensive live-stream option to watch the eclipse, this app is for you. Total Solar Eclipse offers five different live-view and streaming options. Plus, this app includes the live performance of musical accompaniment by Wayne Grim and the Kronos Quartet taking place in San Francisco.
5. Eclipse 2017
Here is an app that provides the basic necessities you need to witness the solar eclipse. Once you log in, you’ll find maps, news articles, and community information. If you need to know is when and where the total eclipse will be visible, this app can tell you. While mostly free, there is an upgraded version available that allows GPS use.
6. Solar Eclipse Timer
If you’re planning on photographing or viewing the eclipse through a telescope, this app will come in handy. The Solar Eclipse Timer gives you audible countdowns during all points of the moon’s progress across the sun. It will even tell you interesting factors to look out for (such as temperature drops) and let you know when it’s safe to remove your protective eyewear.
Speaking of Eyewear…
You’ll shoot your eye out! Well, not exactly. But watching the upcoming solar eclipse without protective eyewear can seriously damage your eyes. Sunlight damages eyes by triggering a series of chemical reactions. These reactions can destroy cells and permanently damage your cornea or retina. Sunlight can even burn your eyes and cause other thermal injuries.
Everyday sunglasses won’t cut it when it comes to protecting your eyes from the sun’s UV rays. You’ll need special-purpose, solar-filtered glasses, or eclipse glasses.
If you plan on watching the eclipse firsthand, there’s still time to buy eclipse glasses online if you don’t already have a pair. You can go to sites like Amazon that offer package deals or check out this site for eclipse glasses. If you’re an educator looking for bulk options, eclipseglasses.com has you covered. Many local public libraries are offering
If you’re looking for the ultimate eclipse getaway, try entering this Airbnb contest. As for the rest of us, we’ll be relying on a few timely and well-designed apps to keep us plugged into the historic event.