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Solar eclipse question? There's an app for that

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 5 days ago Jefferson Graham
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LOS ANGELES — So what time exactly can I see the Great American total solar eclipse? And how’s the weather looking for my desired viewing location?  

Good news folks: There’s an app for that. Many, in fact.

We found 30 solar eclipse apps in the Apple iTunes app store and more than 70 in the Google Play store. Most are free.

Most offer the basics — a map showing the exact timing of both the partial and total eclipse in your neighborhood; a countdown clock; weather information for the day; and scientific facts about the eclipse and space.

The total solar eclipse is the first we’ve been able view from coast to coast since 1918, and it begins on the coast of Oregon at 10:15 a.m. PT on Aug. 21. Some 90 minutes later, it will have made its way through Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina.

The Google Play store has over 70 solar eclipse apps © Google The Google Play store has over 70 solar eclipse apps The best of the apps are the Smithsonian’s Eclipse 2017 and Eclipse Safari, which offer science history, and best practices for why you need to wear your solar glasses during the time of totality, respectively. There are also tips on how to make an old-fashioned pinhole projector for viewing.

Eclipse Safari offers the NASA live stream of the Eclipse and a Twitter feed with the latest eclipse related tweets.

— Solar Timer ($1.99) offers app-generated voices to “talk” you through the eclipse, counting down to the moment of totality and alerts on when it’s safe to take off your glasses.

— Total Solar Eclipse (free) offers live telescope views from NASA, narration of the live event in English and Spanish — even accompaniment by the Kronos Quartet.

—Solar Eclipse VR (99 cents) needs to be attached to a virtual reality viewer like Google Cardboard to show you animated 360 degree looks at simulated eclipse's. 

And in the, please don't ever consider an app like this for even a moment — Solar Eclipse glasses (99 cents) claims it is handy when stores have run out of solar glasses.

You know, the one we’re supposed to wear to protect our eyes from the blazing sun.

No!

The app maker suggests you can instead use the filter in the app, and your smartphone camera to look up at the sun. Without any eye protection.

Please don't. Using an app like this could cause blindness.

The USA TODAY Network will be covering the eclipse in full force on Aug. 21, from Oregon through South Carolina, so stick with us for the latest.

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