Total Eclipse, Totally Live

Blog Post created by charlierussell on Aug 15, 2017

The excitement is building toward the "The Great American Eclipse" coming August 21, 2017 to the United States. It’s the first time in almost 100 years that a total solar eclipse will be visible from coast to coast, and the first time in 38 years that one has been visible anywhere in the contiguous United States.


It's also the first U.S. total eclipse in the age of the Internet and live streaming, with NASA planning exciting live streaming of the event. With counterfeit eclipse glasses already found on the market, live streaming is the safest and coolest way to view the eclipse.  

Countdown to the eclipse on the NASA website.

Watch the live stream on August 21 on NASA Eclipse 2017 Live. 

NASA's Eyes to watch animated previews of the eclipse.


Eclipse path on the earth


Path of Total Solar Eclipse August 21, 2017. Credit: NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio


What is an eclipse? An eclipse is a periodic alignment of the sun, earth and moon. In a solar eclipse, the moon moves between the sun and the viewer for a short time, obscuring part or all of the sun from view. A Total Solar Eclipse happens when the moon completely covers the sun. Here, the observer is standing under the umbral shadow of the moon. In a total solar eclipse, the sun’s outer atmosphere can be seen.


Sun earth eclipse

Solar Eclipse (visualization). Credit: NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio 




Rule Number One: Protect Your Eyes

Whatever you do, never look directly at the sun. You can suffer permanent eye damage or blindness. However, there are several ways, two old and one new, to safely observe a solar eclipse.


Three ways to safely observe the eclipse.

1. Pinhole projector or other projection method, producing a miniaturized view on paper. 

2. Certified protective eclipse glasses from a reputable vendor. 

3. Live streaming from NASA, or other video sources. See detail below.


Caution: counterfeit eclipse glasses could damage your eyes. According to Time,  Amazon is giving refunds to customers who have purchased potentially counterfeit solar eclipse glasses, which could lead to eye damage in people who wear them while looking directly at the sun.

NASA Recommends:

Refer to the American Astronomical Society (AAS) Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters & Viewers page for a list of manufacturers and authorized dealers of eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers verified to be compliant with the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard for such products.


Note: the Reputable Vendors page currently states:

"It may be too late to buy solar viewers in time for August 21st. Most vendors are sold out!"



Live Streaming: 100% Safe, 100% Cool

NASA will be delivery live video streams of the August 21 total solar eclipse, from NASA Television and locations across the country, on NASA Eclipse 2017 Live. Viewers around the world will be provided a wealth of images captured before, during, and after the eclipse.


Eclipse corona

Total eclipse image taken Mar. 20, 2015 at Svalbard, Norway. Credit: S. Habbal, M. Druckmüller and P. Aniol


Official NASA broadcast locations for the total solar eclipse include:

  • International Space Station
  • 50+ High Altitude Balloon Teams Across Path of Totality
  • Gulfstream III Aircraft
  • State Fair Grounds/Oregon Museum of Science - Salem, OR
  • Exploratorium - Madras, OR
  • Museum of Idaho – Idaho Falls, ID
  • Exploratorium – Casper, WY
  • Homestead National Monument of America – Beatrice, NE
  • State Capitol – Jefferson City, MO
  • Southern Illinois University Edwardsville – Carbondale, IL
  • Summer Salute Festival – Hopkinsville, KY
  • Austin Peay State University – Clarksville, TN
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park – NC
  • College of Charleston – Charleston, SC
  • Coast Guard Ship – Atlantic Ocean


Here's the link that will stream the eclipse: NASA Eclipse 2017 Live  


In addition, for research purposes, NASA will chase the eclipse to capture high-resolution, high-speed photographs from two retrofitted WB-57F jet planes in the stratosphere. At the planes’ cruising altitude of 50,000 feet, the sky is 20-30 times darker than as seen from the ground, and there is much less atmospheric turbulence, allowing fine structures and motions in the Sun’s corona to be visible.


NASA planes observing eclipse

NASA aircraft chasing the eclipse (photo illustration). Credits: NASA/Faroe Islands/SwRI



So mark your calendars and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime event!

Countdown to the eclipse on the NASA website.

Watch the live stream on August 21 on NASA Eclipse 2017 Live. 

NASA's Eyes to watch animated previews of the eclipse.