The summer’s most anticipated celestial event is almost here, and anyone with an internet connection will be able to get a good look. On Aug. 21, the Great American Eclipse, the first total solar eclipse viewable from within the United States in decades, will happen between noon and 4pm EDT as the moon crosses in front of the sun and casts a shadow across the Earth.
“Never before will a celestial event be viewed by so many and explored from so many vantage points—from space, from the air, and from the ground,” according to NASA.
Anyone living in the continental US will be able to see the partial eclipse at some point during the day on Aug. 21. If you don’t live in the path of totality (the 70 mile-wide area where the total eclipse will be visible) or live outside the US, you can still get a great view from dozens of live streams. Don’t worry, it’s completely safe to watch video feeds of the eclipse. (You do need special safety glasses to safely view in person.)
NASA, of course, is the first place to go to watch live streams of the solar eclipse (they’ll have two different feeds going the day of the event). Here are some of the available streams:
NASA TV, the space agency’s television service, will have one of the most robust and complete streams. NASA will be broadcasting live footage compiled from 12 different ground-based video feeds, “eclipse jets,” spacecraft, high-altitude balloons, and specially modified telescopes. Programming will also include footage from astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The NASA TV feed will be live between noon and 4pm EDT, with a preview show beginning at noon and the main show covering the path of totality from 1pm onward. This stream will include live reports from Charleston, South Carolina as well as from Salem, Oregon; Idaho Falls, Idaho; Beatrice, Nebraska; Jefferson City, Missouri; Carbondale, Illinois; Hopkinsville, Kentucky; and Clarksville, Tennessee.
Watch the NASA TV live stream here:
NASA EDGE is NASA’s “edgier,” unscripted live feed. NASA EDGE will be airing a live “megacast” for four hours from outside Saluki Stadium in Carbondale in partnership with the NASA Heliophysics Education Consortium, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and Lunt Solar Systems. The megacast, which kicks off at 11:45 am EDT, will allow NASA to interact with scientists and members of the public across the country. Programming will include interviews with scientists, social-media chat, educational activities, and telescope feeds.
NASA EDGE will also stream over Facebook Live, the H-Alpha Telescope feed, the Ca-K Telescope feed, and the White Light Telescope feed. In addition, NASA EDGE will host a live feed of processed imagery throughout the event that displays photos captured before, during, and after the eclipse.
The Eclipse Ballooning Project
The Ballooning Project stream will send video from high-altitude balloons launched by 55 teams of university and high school students, scientific research groups, and other eclipse enthusiasts. Viewers can pick the balloon they want to watch via an interactive map on the website. The balloons use Iridium and GPS satellites, lightweight radio modems, Raspberry Pi computers, and live streaming video to collect data. They will fly along the path of totality from 100,000 ft up, so viewers will see an angle of the eclipse that shows the curvature of the Earth against the blackness of space.
Slooh is a robotic telescope streaming service that has partnerships with observatories around the world. The eclipse stream will feature commentary from scientists, eclipse-safety experts, and cultural correspondents who will comment on the history and spirituality of eclipse during the broadcast, which will be based in Stanley, Idaho. The stream should start around noon EDT.
San Francisco Exporatorium
The San Francisco Exploratorium science museum is partnering with NASA to present video from two locations, streaming online and through their Android and iOS apps. The museum’s stream will be narrated in Spanish as well as English, and begin around 1 pm EDT. Telescope views from Oregon will start around noon EDT and from Wyoming around 12:15 pm EDT.
Exploratorium composer Wayne Grim will also be creating an eclipse “sonification,” in which data streamed from Exploratorium video crews is converted into sound by preassigning a note to every possible data value. The sonification will be played by the Kronos Quartet in real time as a semi-improvised composition starting at 12:15 pm EDT via the Exlporatorium website and apps.
The Weather Channel
The Weather Channel has scheduled a full slate of programming surrounding the eclipse on Aug. 21. Their “Total Solar Eclipse” broadcast will be viewable online to cable subscribers and will feature reporting from meteorologists positioned at different points along the path of totality, as well as one tracing the southeastern strip of the eclipse shadow and one reporting from the Royal Caribbean Total Eclipse Cruise, which is sailing from Port Canaveral, Florida, to optimal viewing locations in the Atlantic Ocean.
The Weather Channel is also planning to use augmented reality to explain the science behind the eclipse, using virtual space and solar systems to display real-time positioning. Coverage starts at 6am EDT and will include detailed weather forecasts for optimal viewing.
CNN and Volvo
CNN and Volvo are teaming up to live stream the solar eclipse via 360° video in 4K resolution and virtual reality. Specially equipped Volvo SUVs will travel to Snake River Valley, Idaho; Beatrice, Nebraska; Blackwell, Missouri; and Charleston, South Carolina.
The Virtual Telescope Project
The Virtual Telescope Project is remote, robotic-telescope viewing service accessible in real-time online run by Dr. Gianluca Masi from the Bellatrix Astronomical Observatory in Italy. The service will host a public live stream on the day of the eclipse starting at 1 pm EDT. Coverage will include commentary from the observatory’s scientific staff, with footage from collaborators around the world.
Watch the Virtual Telescope Project’s live stream of the eclipse here.
The Elephant Sanctuary
The Elephant Sanctuary is a popular live camera that typically shows streams of elephants who have been retired from zoos and circuses. On eclipse day, the Hohenwald, Tennessee facility will use their 13 solar-powered, live-streaming HD ‘EleCams’ to display the partial eclipse beginning around noon EDT, and the total eclipse at about 1:30 pm EDT. Sanctuary officials aren’t sure how the elephants will react to the eclipse, and encourage both elephant and eclipse enthusiasts to tune in to observe the impact.
Video will stream from the sanctuary’s Facebook page beginning around noon EDT. (The EleCams will go dark during the totality due to the lack of light.)