Explore the Total Solar Eclipse
Seeing a total solar eclipse is among nature’s most awesome experiences. Where will you be for the once-in-a-lifetime total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017? Will you be inside the 60-mile wide, 2,500 mile long path of totality? We put together a special eclipse Google map so you can choose a location to view this rare event. We cast times to local time so you don’t have to adjust from Coordinated Universal Time and we highlight the maximum obscuration of the Sun at the location of your click. We think this is one of the most approachable eclipse maps out there.
Explore our map.
Passing through 12 states, this eclipse is the first total solar eclipse to cross the United States from coast-to-coast since 1918. The last total solar eclipse in the U.S. was in 1979. For a few minutes, millions of observers will gather along a narrow band to witness the same event making it a perfect opportunity to become a citizen scientist.
While simply witnessing a total solar eclipse is fascinating and moving, some people are taking the opportunity to do some citizen science during this event – and you can too! For beginners or parents with children, the great news is that you can still collect meaningful data by making some basic observations. All you’ll need is a notebook, pencil an observant attitude. Become a scientist! Note changes in how the wind blows. Or changes in temperature. Notice how birds and animals act as totality approaches. In the minute or so before totality when Bailey’s Beads, formed from sunlight streaming through the deepest valleys on the Moon, look around for bands of shadows. Note shadow direction and general speed. Look under trees as the leaves cast crescent shadows as the eclipse progresses. Or use the voice recording feature on your smartphone to capture other witness’ experiences and thoughts.
Some basic citizen science projects include:
- Smartphone photography: Join in the millions of people who will be capturing photos of eclipse with their smart phones. With a little preparation, you can capture some stunning images. Read more at https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/smartphone-photography-eclipse, and https://eclipsemega.movie
- Temperature Changes: Measure how the daytime temperature changes over the course of the eclipse. All you need for this activity is a thermometer or digital weather station. Many mobile apps don’t use the temperature at your location but rather a city or weather station nearby. For more accurate readings with your phone, find an app that uses an external temperature sensor.
- Dimming of daylight: This simple observation will show you how the darkness during totality compares with daytime, dusk and twilight. Use a light meter to measure the change in brightness or simply record your observations in a notebook.
- Ambient Sounds: Record the changing sounds of the environment around you during the eclipse. You can send them to eclipsesoundscapes.org to benefit sociologists, birders as well as the blind and visually impaired.
More formal citizen science projects include the Citizen CATE Experiment, which stands for Continental-America Telescope Eclipse. The experiment will use a network of more than 68 telescopes equipped with identical telescopes and digital cameras spread along the path of totality, each a few hundred km from each other, beginning in Oregon and going all the way to South Carolina. With each site only observing approximately 2.5 minutes of totality, as the shadow passes over the horizon, the next observing site is ready to begin observing. The goal of this eclipse relay race project is to produce a scientifically unique dataset of high-resolution, rapid-cadence, white-light images focusing on the inner solar corona. This part of the Sun’s atmosphere is incredibly challenging to image. With 90 minutes of continuous observation, scientists hope to gain important insights about the dynamics of this area of the Sun, including how the solar wind is accelerated.
And don’t forget…While a total solar eclipse is an awesome experience, we don’t want you to damage your eyes by looking at the Sun without sufficient eye protection, such as eclipse glasses, a welder’s mask, or a pinhole viewer. Sunglasses don’t cut it! Only during totality, when the Moon completely blocks the Sun, is it safe and desirable to remove your eclipse glasses and enjoy one of the only ways to see the solar corona, the Sun’s wispy outer atmosphere.
More safety tips at here
Make your own pinhole camera: Making a Pinhole Camera
For more ways you can be a citizen scientist during the eclipse, visit eclipse.aas.org/resources/citizen-science