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Total Solar Eclipse: If You Can't See It Live, Use Virtual Reality with Volvo, CNN

eclipse, volvo xc50
Volvo Car USA and CNN have partnered to create a 360-degree, 4K virtual-reality broadcast of the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21. (Image credit: Volvo)

If you can't get a live view of the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse that will sweep across the U.S., there's another option for seeing this celestial event — watching it in virtual reality.

Volvo Car USA and CNN plan to offer a 360-degree, 4K video shot from four locations along the total eclipse path. Viewers will be able to watch the event on a computer, smartphone or VR device, according to CNN's website.

The four cameras will be spaced across the United States, with one each in Snake River Valley, Idaho; Beatrice, Nebraska; Blackwell, Missouri; and Charleston, South Carolina. A host at each location will guide viewers through the event. The hosts include Andy Weir (author of the novel "The Martian," which inspired the movie of the same name) and former NASA astronaut Cady Coleman. [Solar Eclipse Glasses: Where to Buy the Best, High-Quality Eyewear

The "interactive experience" is intended to enhance what you would see if you were watching the eclipse in person, according to a statement from the companies. Additional details about how the eclipsed sun will look in the video have not been released. 

Footage from the different locations will appear as separate livefeeds. There will also be separate livestreams with branded content from Volvo to promote the new 2018 Volvo XC60s car. 

"The 2017 eclipse is a once-in-a-lifetime experience," Bob Jacobs, Volvo Car USA's vice president of marketing, product and brand communication, said in a statement. He added that when the last total solar eclipse raced across the country in 1918, people didn't have many of the technological tools that are at our disposal today.

"It's amazing to think that when the last solar eclipse crossed the United States coast-to-coast, an artist's painting or perhaps a photograph was the best way to share it. Thanks to Volvo, CNN and emerging technology, people can experience the eclipse as if they are there."

More information on the event is available at

NASA will also be hosting a livestream of the eclipse, featuring views from multiple locations along the eclipse path. You can watch on NASA's website or through various eclipse apps, which also provide real-time information about where to go. recently reviewed seven eclipse apps, which are available on Apple and Android devices.

Editor's note: has teamed up with Simulation Curriculum to offer this awesome Eclipse Safari app to help you enjoy your eclipse experience. The free app is available for Apple and Android, and you can view it on the web. If you take an amazing photo of the Aug. 21 solar eclipse, let us know! Send photos and comments to:

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Elizabeth Howell
Elizabeth Howell is a contributing writer for who is one of the few Canadian journalists to report regularly on space exploration. She is pursuing a Ph.D. part-time in aerospace sciences (University of North Dakota) after completing an M.Sc. (space studies) at the same institution. She also holds a bachelor of journalism degree from Carleton University. Besides writing, Elizabeth teaches communications at the university and community college level. To see her latest projects, follow Elizabeth on Twitter at @HowellSpace.