The Best Free Apps For Viewing The 2017 Solar Eclipse On Aug. 21

For the first time since 1918, the moon's shadow will cross most of the North American continent in what is known as the path of totality. While there are a handful of ideal places for solar eclipse viewing in the U.S., there are also apps for viewing the solar eclipse on Aug. 21. According to, apps can arm you with "information about when the eclipse will take place in your location, scientific information about the eclipse, and even audible announcements about when to put on and take off solar glasses."

And, if it's too cloudy to see the eclipse, which will last less than two minutes, you can watch NASA's live stream from an app. It's also important to know how to view an eclipse safely so you don't damage your eyes.  Additionally, the eclipse will take place at a slightly different time in every location, so these apps to view the eclipse can help ensure you don't miss a second of this celestial action.

While there was a total solar eclipse in 1979, it was only visible in a few states in New England, so this is likely the first time you've had the opportunity to view a total solar eclipse, unless you're over 100 years old and can remember things from when you were an infant. If you're stoked to experience this rare event, make sure to download a few apps to view the eclipse.

1Smithsonian Eclipse 2017

Smithsonian Eclipse 2017/iTunes App Store

Smithsonian Eclipse 2017 is available for both Apple and Android, and it's free. This solar eclipse app allows you to watch a live NASA stream of the eclipse as it travels across the continental United States, calculate your view with an interactive eclipse map, and get a virtual view in the eclipse simulator, according to the app's description on iTunes.

2Total Solar Eclipse

Exploratorium on YouTube

The Total Solar Eclipse app from the Exploratorium, a hands-on museum of science, art, and human perception, is a free solar eclipse app for Apple and Android. Total Solar Eclipse lets you you to view five simultaneous video streams, including live coverage hosted by Exploratorium educators and NASA scientists, live coverage in Spanish hosted by Exploratorium educators, a non-narrated, three-hour live telescope view of the full eclipse as seen from Oregon, a non-narrated, three-hour live telescope view of the full eclipse as seen from Wyoming, and a live telescope view with live musical sonification and accompaniment by the Kronos Quartet, according to the app's description on iTunes.



Eclipse2017, a solar eclipse app available for both Apple and Android, gives you access to maps, links, news articles, community information, and eclipse glasses. If you want digestible information you can easily understand about when the eclipse starts, and whether or not you're in the path of totality, this is the app for you.

4Totality By Big Kid Science

BigKidScience on YouTube

Totality by Big Kid Science is a free solar eclipse app for Apple and Android that's kind of like your own personal solar eclipse assistant. Some of the features of this solar eclipse app include the ability to find out exactly what you’ll see at your current location, the ability to find the nearest locations to the path of totality, navigation tools to help you find your best route to the path of totality, and information about how, when, and why eclipses occur.

5Solar Eclipse Timer

Foxwood Astronomy on YouTube

If you are lucky enough to be in the path of totality, this app will talk you through every aspect of the solar eclipse. The Solar Eclipse Timer app, for Apple and Android, was created by someone who has observed numerous eclipses, so you'll get talked through your eclipse experience by an expert.

6Solar Eclipse by Redshift

If you're a hardcore science and space junkie, this app will satisfy all of your eclipse needs. Available on both Apple and Android, Solar Eclipse by Redshift lets you experience the Aug. 21 solar eclipse, plus past and future eclipses via interactive simulation. It's available in five language, and also includes news, tips, maps, and basically everything you need to know about solar eclipses.

7GLOBE Observer Eclipse App

NASA Goddard on YouTube

This interactive app from NASA is calling on eclipse chasers to contribute data to help NASA record the eclipse. Available for Apple and Android, GLOBE Observer Eclipse App lets you be a scientists for a day during one of the most amazing events in the last century.

“No matter where you are in North America, whether it’s cloudy, clear or rainy, NASA wants as many people as possible to help with this citizen science project,” said Kristen Weaver, deputy coordinator said in a statement from NASA about the project. “We want to inspire a million eclipse viewers to become eclipse scientists.”