by Big Kid Science

TotalityApp screenshot1We are excited to announce that our eclipse program partners Big Kid Science, an educational company founded by astrophysicist Dr. Jeffrey Bennett, has created a free, educational app to help people plan and prepare for the upcoming total solar eclipse on Monday, August 21, 2017 -- the first total solar eclipse visible from the continental United States in almost four decades.

Totality by Big Kid Science, previously released for iOS in May, and now also available for Android is THE app to have on your device that can show you how much of an eclipse you can see at any location, along with the local times at which the eclipse begins, reaches maximum, and ends on August 21. It also uses GPS to show you what you’ll see at your current location and to tell you the nearest locations at which you can see a total solar eclipse. It even offers driving directions if you choose to travel to see totality. The app also includes additional information about how to view the eclipse safely, how eclipses work, activities for families and teachers, and much more. Though the app is free, there are links to donate to our organization too! 

Developed by Germinate LLC, Totality’s underlying code was provided by Xavier Jubier, creator of sophisticated eclipse maps, including this interactive Google map for the Aug. 21 eclipse.

In addition to creating the free app, Big Kid Science also donated 100,000 pairs of eclipse glasses to support safe viewing of the eclipse, including 50,000 to Astronomers Without Borders for distribution to underserved schools across U.S.; 20,000 to Denver Public Schools; and 22,000 to Idaho Falls Public Schools, plus 5,000 more for eclipse day events in Idaho Falls.

Big Kid Science offers some tips on how to enjoy the eclipse with this quick Q&A:

Q: How do I view the eclipse?
A: Use the Totality by Big Kid Science app to find out what type of eclipse you’ll see at your location, or to plan a trip to the path of totality.
As long as the Sun is not blocked by clouds or obstacles (like buildings or trees), you can see the eclipse simply by looking up at the Sun with your eclipse glasses.
But it’s generally more fun to watch with a group, so look for events in the area where you’ll be watching. Or consider coming to Idaho Falls, ID, to join Big Kid Science founder Jeffrey Bennett and colleagues for special events over the preceding weekend and on eclipse day:

TotalityApp screenshot2Q: I live just a few hours drive from the path of totality. Can I just get up early and drive there on eclipse day?

A: In principle, yes, but... Expect traffic to be extremely heavy with millions of people having the same idea. So if you decide to do this, get up very early and look for roads that are less likely to be congested. Still, to be sure you don’t miss out, consider driving to the path at least a day or two ahead of time. While lodging is difficult to find right on the path, you may still be able to find camp sites, or lodging that is close enough to the path to make it a much easier drive on eclipse day, Aug. 21.

Note: Be sure to stock your car with food and water and make sure you have a full tank of gas, in case gas stations and stores/restaurants run short of supplies for all the people heading to the path of totality.

Q: Where can I get eclipse glasses?
A: Be sure you get certified eclipse glasses, which are the only safe option. They are available from many vendors, though supplies are dwindling as the eclipse approaches. One option is to purchase them through the Totality app (see the “shop” screen); another is to purchase them from Astronomers Without Borders, where all proceeds help support their astronomy education efforts:

Q: What other information should I have to get ready for the eclipse?
A: We hope you’ll take the opportunity to learn more about eclipses and science in general, and to do activities if you have kids. You’ll find all this info and more on screens accessed via the main menu in the Totality app.

Totality by Big Kid Science is the FREE app that will tell you when, where, and what you’ll see on eclipse day (Aug. 21, 2017). Features include:
* Find out exactly what you can see on eclipse day at any location.
* Using your phone’s GPS, it will also tell you want you will see at your current location.
* Find the nearest locations where you can witness totality.
* Use navigation tools to help you find your best route to the path of totality.
* Learn how, when, and why eclipses occur.
* Explore activities for families and schools, shop for eclipse glasses, and more.
* Totality also gives you the option to get similar maps/info for the next 5 total solar eclipses that will occur around the world, including the 2024 total solar eclipse that will also be visible from parts of the United States.

Big Kid Science ( publishes fun and scientifically accurate educational products, including award-winning books, and activities and resources for individuals, families, and classroom teachers. Founded by astrophysicist and educator Dr. Jeffrey Bennett, Big Kid Science also offers author visits and school programs. Six children’s books from Big Kid Science are currently aboard the International Space Station, where they have been read aloud by astronauts for the Story Time From Space ( program.