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The best apps for watching the total solar eclipse

Whether you plan to see it in person or via live stream, these apps will help you plan for and view the upcoming solar eclipse.

Taylor Martin/CNET
Now playing: Watch this: 4 apps to help you watch the solar eclipse
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On Monday, August 21, the moon will temporarily cross paths with the sun, causing a total solar eclipse for part of the US. Whether you live near the path of totality or not, a solar eclipse is a rare enough that it'll be worth taking the few minutes to watch it happen.

Here are four apps -- available both on Android and iOS -- that will help you plan for and view the solar eclipse on August 21.

Solar Eclipse by Redshift

solar-eclipse-by-redshift

Solar Eclipse by Redshift

Taylor Martin/CNET

Solar Eclipse by Redshift (Android, iOS) provides a simulation of the solar eclipse from four different perspectives: a view from the sun, the best location, your current location and a map view. This simulation can help give you a better idea of what to look for during the solar eclipse and determine if you should make the trek to the path of totality.

You can also tinker with an eclipse calendar that will play simulations of past and future eclipses.

Solar Eclipse by Redshift is $1.99, but it's currently free on Android for a limited time.

Smithsonian Eclipse 2017

smithsonian-eclipse-2017

Smithsonian Eclipse 2017

Taylor Martin/CNET

If you're not near the path of totality, you may still be able to view a partial solar eclipse from your location. But you can also view NASA's live stream of the total eclipse from your phone with the Smithsonian Eclipse 2017 app (Android, iOS).

This app will tell you the percent of the eclipse you should see from your location, the weather forecast for the afternoon and it provides an interactive map showing the path of totality. On this interactive map, you can tap around to drop a pin and see the event calendar for the eclipse for that location.

Total Solar Eclipse

total-solar-eclipse

Total Solar Eclipse from Exploratorium

Taylor Martin/CNET

The Exploratorium's Total Solar Eclipse (Android, iOS) will provide five simultaneous live streams of the eclipse: one with commentary from Exploratorium educators and NASA scientists, one hosted by Exploratorium educators in Spanish, two non-narrated telescope views from Oregon and Wyoming and one with live music from the Kronos Quartet.

In the Total Solar Eclipse app, you will also find additional information on eclipses and informational videos. If you open settings within the app, you can also quickly add the eclipse as an event to the calendar on your phone.

Solar Eclipse Timer

solar-eclipse-timer

Solar Eclipse Timer

Taylor Martin/CNET

If you plan to be within the path of totality, one of the most helpful apps will be the Solar Eclipse Timer app (Android, iOS). It's not pretty, but it will walk you through the different phases of a total eclipse with audible cues and countdown timers for the four different contact points.

Just open the app, tap Check Position, then tap Get My Location. Using your GPS coordinates, it will load the correct times for contact points, estimate the totality duration and walk you through the eclipse. If you are outside the path of totality, Solar Eclipse Timer will not work.

Solar Eclipse Timer is $1.99 on both the App Store and Google Play.

For more on the solar eclipse, check out these weird things that happen and our last-minute planning guide.