Solar Eclipse 2017: Google Launches Simulator to Preview Eclipse Before Celestial Event

The University of California Berkeley and Google have collaborated to release an online simulation for the total solar eclipse that will be visible in the United States in August. Since the rare celestial phenomena will be visible only in certain parts of the country, eclipse watchers can now have a simple preview of how the transit would look like in their area.

Reuters/Jon Olav Nesvold/NTB scanpixA total solar eclipse is seen in Longyearbyen on Svalbard, Norway, March 20, 2015.

On Aug. 21, the moon will briefly cover the sun in what would be the first solar eclipse that can be seen in the United States since 1972. This once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon is an absolute must-see for astronomy fans and photographers everywhere.

They will need to be in the right spot to see the complete occlusion of the sun, however, as the eclipse is only visible on a narrow band running across the country from Oregon to South Carolina, as forecasted by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

The simulator posted online by Google and the University of California Berkeley puts the huge volume of data gathered ahead of the celestial event in an easy-to-use app as part of their website called "Eclipse Megamovie 2017".

Users can simply input in their city, town or state in the search box in the middle, or click the Map button to pinpoint the location.

The projected path of the eclipse is also overlaid on the map, with the darkened area showing the swath across the country where the sun will be seen as occluded by the eclipse.

After an area is selected, the timeline below can be manipulated to show how the Aug. 21 transit of the moon across the sun will look from that location.

Pressing the Play button will animate the simulation, showing the sun being covered by the moon. The moment of the total eclipse is also marked in the middle of the timeline, which indicates the exact time that the celestial event will take place in that area.