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New Tool Simulates Your View of This Summer’s Once-in-a-Lifetime Solar Eclipse

Even if you don't have plans to take a road trip to prime viewing territory or hop a special Royal Caribbean cruise to see the super-rare total solar eclipse happening later this summer, odds are you'll still be able to catch a glimpse of the action in the sky wherever you are in the continental US. And thanks to this new simulator, you can get a sneak peek of just what your view might look like.

In case you haven't heard the hype, the Great American Eclipse -- the first total solar eclipse to appear across the continental US in nearly 100 years -- will be visible on Monday, August 21. The snazzy simulation tool was built by the team behind the Eclipse Megamovie Project, an initiative tasked with stitching together hundreds of crowdsourced photos of the eclipse from amateur astronomers all across the country to create one continuous and expanded view of it as it crosses the county. 

To see an animation of what to expect from wherever you are, just plug in your zip code or city name, press play, and watch as the little cartoon sun floats through the sky. It'll give you an idea not only when to expect the eclipse be visible in your area, but also how much of the moon will be blocking the sun (and approximately how dark the sky will get). 

Of course, if you're underwhelmed by the preview and are eager to see the actual eclipse in all its glory, there's still time to plan a trek to any spot along the narrow "path of totality," which spans 12 states, and experience a quick midday moment of night as the sun is entirely blocked out by the moon.

h/tThe Verge

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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow him @jwmcgauley.