Research, Science & environment

Total Solar Eclipse 2017: Here’s what you’ll see on Aug. 21

Megamovie project debuts simulator to show you what you'll see from any point in the United States

Simulation of the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse as seen from Warm Springs, Oregon, which is near the center of the path of totality as the moon's shadow traverses the United States.

Are you wondering what the total solar eclipse in late summer will look like from your patio? Or where to travel to get the best view of the eclipse?

A unique simulator produced by the Eclipse Megamovie Project – a collaboration between the University of California, Berkeley and Google – has just what you need.

You can enter the ZIP code or name of your city or town and see an animation of how the sun will move across the sky over a three-hour period – sped up 1,000 or 4,000 times – and how much of a bite will be taken out of the sun by the eclipsing moon. If you are lucky enough to be inside the path of totality, the simulator shows the eerily darkening sky that eclipse fanatics travel around the world to experience.

“There are lots of online animations of the 2017 eclipse, but you can’t use them like ours to get a sense of the full experience, including your surroundings,” said Dan Zevin, who is with the Multiverse education team that is leading the project at UC Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory. “Our simulation is closer to what one might experience in a planetarium show.”

A simple click will reveal a map of where you live relative to the path of totality, which will stretch across 11 states in a band at most 72 miles wide.

For the full “total solar eclipse” experience, getting within the path of totality is key.

“If you are off to the side — even just a little bit where the sun is not 100 percent covered by the moon — it is like being in the parking lot of the stadium during the Super Bowl but not really inside seeing the game,” said Jay Pasachoff, the Field Memorial Professor of Astronomy at Williams College and the Megamovie team’s expert eclipse adviser.

To get a preview of the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse you’ll see from your backyard, campsite or hotel, check out the simulator.

Read more about the Eclipse Megamovie Project, or link to the project’s website. Or follow the project on Twitter (@Eclipse2017MM) or Facebook.

Eclipse Megamovie video by Google.

Total Solar Eclipse 2017 simulator