Here's How to Livestream Today's Total Solar Eclipse

Joshua Hicks, iStock / Getty Images Plus
Joshua Hicks, iStock / Getty Images Plus

The last total solar eclipse stretched over the U.S. on August 21, 2017, and many people in America were lucky enough to see it from their backyards. The next total solar eclipse—which is happening today, July 2, 2019—is set to occur over parts of Chile and Argentina (including the Buenos Aires metro area) and the South Pacific Ocean, but that doesn't mean you have to catch a plane to South America to see it. As Engadget reports, NASA is broadcasting a livestream of the event online.

Streaming video from telescopes in Vicuna, Chile, will air today starting at 3 p.m. Eastern Time and last until 6 p.m. At 4 p.m. EDT, NASA will stream two one-hour programs with live commentary of the eclipse—one in English and one in Spanish. Viewers interested in catching totality, the brief period when the Moon fully blocks out the Sun, should tune in to the stream from 4:38 p.m. to 4:44 p.m.

Peak totality of this eclipse will last approximately four minutes and 33 seconds, pushing it over the length of totality of 2017's Great American Eclipse. This part of the eclipse will occur over the ocean, so not many people will get to experience it in person, but web users in any part of the world can stream it below.

NASA Live's eclipse livestream is a collaboration with the Exploratorium, an interactive science museum in San Francisco. Other live events the space agency plans to stream this month include the launch of the Soyuz spacecraft on July 20 and the liftoff of the SpaceX CRS-18 on July 21.

[h/t Engadget]

Thursday’s Best Amazon Deals Include Guitar Kits, Memory-Foam Pillows, and Smartwatches

As a recurring feature, our team combs the web and shares some amazing Amazon deals we’ve turned up. Here’s what caught our eye today, December 3. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers, including Amazon, and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Good luck deal hunting!

3D Map Shows the Milky Way Galaxy in Unprecedented Detail


It's our galactic home, but the Milky Way contains many mysteries scientists are working to unravel. Now, as The Guardian reports, astronomers at the European Space Agency have built a 3D map that provides the most detailed look at our galaxy yet.

The data displayed in the graphic below has been seven years in the making. In 2013, the ESA launched its Gaia observatory from Kourou in French Guiana. Since then, two high-powered telescopes aboard the spacecraft have been sweeping the skies, recording the locations, movements, and changes in brightness of more than a billion stars in the Milky Way and beyond.

Using Gaia's findings, astronomers put together a 3D map that allows scientists to study the galaxy in greater depth than ever before. The data has made it possible to measure the acceleration of the solar system. By comparing the solar system's movement to that of more remote celestial objects, researchers have determined that the solar system is slowly falling toward the center of the galaxy at an acceleration of 7 millimeters per second per year, The Guardian reports. Additionally, the map reveals how matter is distributed throughout the Milky Way. With this information, scientists should be able to get an estimate of the galaxy's mass.

Gaia's observations may also hold clues to the Milky Way's past and future. The data holds remnants of the 10-billion-year-old disc that made up the edge of the star system. By comparing it to the shape of the Milky Way today, astronomers have determined that the disc will continue to expand as new stars are created.

The Gaia observatory was launched with the mission of gathering an updated star census. The previous census was conducted in 1957, and Gaia's new data reaches four times farther and accounts for 100 times more stars.

[h/t The Guardian]