Popular astronomy app SkySafari has added a special set of features for tracking and viewing this week’s annular solar eclipse.
On Saturday (Oct. 14), the moon will pass in front of the sun, blocking most of it while leaving a “ring of fire” visible in what is known as an annular solar eclipse. To help skywatchers track the eclipse, learn about these events and stay up-to-the-minute with alerts, SkySafari has released a new set of 2023 annular solar eclipse features, available for iOS users. (An Android eclipse feature will be available for the total solar eclipse in April 2024.)
The new eclipse features are available for SkySafari 7 Pro users (subscriptions start at $17.99), although anyone interested in trying it out can download a free trial.
Some of the features in SkySafari’s eclipse update include:
- A countdown timer for tracking the moon’s shadow as it moves across the western United States during the annular solar eclipse
- An interactive eclipse map to help users find an ideal viewing location, including precise times
- An eclipse simulator to let you see what the eclipse will look like at any precise time and location on Earth
- A shadow tracker to allow users to watch the moon’s shadow move across Earth as it would be seen from space
- Audio notifications with curated narrations about what to look for during each part of the eclipse
- A viewing guide to offer users tools and tips for safely observing the annular solar eclipse
— How long will the annular solar eclipse last on Oct. 14?
— How to photograph a solar eclipse
— What’s the difference between a total solar eclipse and an annular solar eclipse?
In addition to SkySafari 7’s new eclipse features update, there are several other noteworthy apps dedicated to offering skywatchers tips and tools for enjoying the “ring of fire” eclipse this week.
NASA has released its own Eclipse Explorer 2023, an interactive map that lays out when and where the eclipse will be visible, including the path of annularity (the areas that will see the “ring of fire”).
And nonprofit organization Astronomers Without Borders is offering the “One Eclipse” app, designed to give users worldwide a front-row seat to the annular solar eclipse right in the palms of their hands.
REMEMBER to NEVER look at the sun directly — even during an eclipse. To safely view this or any other solar eclipse, you must use certified solar filters at all times. Whether your location will experience a partial solar eclipse or an annular solar eclipse, the dangers are the same. Observers will need to wear solar eclipse glasses, and cameras, telescopes and binoculars must have solar filters placed in front of their lenses at all times.
See our how to observe the sun safely guide for everything you need to know about safe solar observations.