A total solar eclipse is expected to occur on 8 March (Tuesday), and you can watch it. Even if you’re not in one of the locations lucky enough to be able to see it with your own eyes, there are ways to watch the gorgeous spectacle online as it happens. Read on to find out how to watch the solar eclipse.
We’ve also got a selection of great apps to share that you might be interested in downloading if you’re a keen astronomer or simply interested in what’s going on in the universe.
How to watch the solar eclipse
If you’re going to be in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Borneo or in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, you’ll be able to witness the solar eclipse in real life, with your own eyes and no help from technology.
And if you live in Asia, Hawaii, Guam and Alaska, you’ll be able to see a partial eclipse rather than the total eclipse on 8 March, and if you live in Northern Australia you’ll see the partial solar eclipse on 9 March.
How to watch the solar eclipse online
For everyone else, including us here in the PC Advisor offices, we’ll have to watch the eclipse online. You can do so by tuning in to Exploratorium’s live stream on 8 March, which will begin at 4pm PST which is midnight here in the UK.
If you don’t fancy staying awake past midnight, you will be able to see photos of the eclipse online the following morning, including on NASA’s Solar Dynamic Observatory site like the image below.
How to watch the 2013 TX68 asteroid
The solar eclipse isn’t the only astronomical event happening on 8 March, though. The 2013 TX68 asteroid will be zooming past Earth the same day but despite our initial excitement, it’s not expected to come close enough for us to see it.
2013 TX68 is an enormous asteroid space rock that measures 100ft wide, and scientists were predicting that it could be about to get closer to Earth than ever before.
Scientists suggested that it could pass by at around 22,300 miles above the equator, which would actually be within the ring of satellites and space junk surrounding the Earth but much further than the 250 miles. Alternatively, though, they said it could pass at a much safer distance that’s 40 times further than the distance to the moon so would make the asteroid almost impossible to spot.
The latest prediction is that it will be about 3 million miles away from Earth when it passes, which is just over 12 times the distance between us and the moon, so it’s very unlikely we’ll be able to see it.
Best astronomy apps: Stargazing apps for iPhone & Android
As you’re still reading this article, we’re going to assume that you’re quite interested in astronomy. Us too, so we thought this would the ideal opportunity to share some of our favourite astronomy apps with you.
Our absolute favourite is Star Walk 2, which is available on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and as a free version for Android. It uses your phone’s gyroscope to help you find stars, planets, constellations, comets, the ISS, satellites, star clusters, nebulae and meteor showers. Yup, it covers it all. And it looks gorgeous, too. It does cost £2.29, though and if you want every feature there’s an additional £2.29 in-app purchase.
If you’re looking for something a bit cheaper, Brian Cox’s Wonders of the Universe is £1.49 for iOS, and uses 3D models, videos and interactive articles to take you on a journey through space.
And if you want a free offering, try NASA’s own app for iOS or Android. It offers images, videos, mission information, news, features and more.