PhotoWhile the upcoming solar eclipse promises to be an awe-inspiring spectacle for people of all ages, many parents are looking forward to seeing their children witness the rare event.

In addition to making travel plans and purchasing special filtered glasses for eye protection, families can prepare for the total solar eclipse on August 21 by downloading eclipse apps.

Apps to check out

Since this will be the first total eclipse visible only in the United States since the country was founded in 1776, it's an event worthy of preparing for ahead of time.

The following apps can help kids learn about solar eclipses, learn special photography techniques, and more. And when the event is upon us, some apps can even provide commentary and connect to live-streamed telescope views.

  • Solar Eclipse Timer. This app, for iPhone and Android, is designed for “first-time observers; expert eclipse chasers; professional photographers; teachers; families; children.” It will announce times for viewing partial phase phenomena and let you know when it’s safe to remove eclipse eyewear. Users can even be “talked” through the eclipse.
  • Totality by Big Kid Science. Best for kids 10 and older, this free Android app lets people find out what their view of the eclipse will be like. Users can see, for instance, whether mountains or trees might obscure their view of the eclipse.
  • Total Solar Eclipse. For those who don’t live in the path of “totality,” this app -- hosted by NASA scientists -- will deliver live stream images of the sun from locations in Oregon and Wyoming.
  • DIY Sun Science. With this NASA-funded app, elementary-school age children can learn about the sun through activities, videos, and images. There’s even a “sun observatory,” which shows live images of the sun from a NASA satellite in seven different views.

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