The Great American Eclipse, the first total solar eclipse viewable from within the United States in decades, is happening now, as the moon crosses in front of the sun and casts a shadow across the Earth.
Anyone living in the continental US will be able to see a partial eclipse at some point today (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 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 until 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 kicked off at 11:45 am EDT, allows 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 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.
Watch the Eclipse Ballooning Project live stream here.
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.
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, with telescope views from Oregon and Wyoming.
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 via the Exlporatorium website and apps.
The Weather Channel has a full slate of programming. Their “Total Solar Eclipse” broadcast is viewable online to cable subscribers and features 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.
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 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 is hosting a public live stream on the day of the eclipse. 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 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 and the total eclipse. 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. (The EleCams will go dark during the totality due to the lack of light.)