How to Watch the Eclipse if You Can't See It

If you can see the eclipse for yourself, you can watch it on TV and on the internet. muratart/Shutterstock

After a great deal of hype, the Great American Eclipse is finally here. Of course, if you don't have eclipse glasses (like me) or if you live in an area prone to heavy cloud cover (like me), the chances of seeing this century-in-the-waiting event may not pan out so well. (I could've gotten glasses — that's totally on me — but there's not a lot I can do about the clouds.)

Since we're in an age of super mass media and since the eclipse promises to be a ratings bonanza for TV and a click fest for web sites, there are plenty of options to experience the eclipse even if you can't see it firsthand.

1. NASA. As you might expect, NASA is going all out for the eclipse. (It's nice having a funded space agency, isn't it?) Starting at noon Eastern, NASA's various platforms will be devoted to the eclipse. This includes Facebook Live, Twitter and Periscope, Ustream, YouTube and two web-based channels, one with commentary and one with just a raw feed. To select the platform that will work best for you, NASA has a handy landing page with the links. You could also just watch the YouTube livestream embedded below.

2. National TV news outlets. While you may have to deal with those pesky commercial breaks, TV news, both cable and broadcast, will be filling their schedules and their own web sites and apps with eclipse coverage. CNN, for instance, will have a two-hour livestream on the site (and app) that includes 360-degree views from the path of totality starting at 1 p.m. Eastern. TV coverage of the eclipse will include on-location reports from Oregon, Missouri, Tennessee and South Carolina.

Fox News won't be engaged in wall-to-wall coverage, but Shepherd Smith will routinely break into regular programming from noon to 4 p.m. EST to provide updates to viewers from the Fox News central desk and supplemented with reports from on-location correspondents.

The broadcast networks won't be left out, either. ABC News' coverage of the eclipse will kick off at 1 p.m., chaired by David Muir. You can, naturally, watch ABC's coverage online as well. NBC News' Lester Holt will be anchoring eclipse coverage in the 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. hours, though the network already kicked things off with Al Roker-led coverage on "Today." CBS has been chugging along already as "CBS This Morning" started coverage at 7 a.m. Eastern, and that will lead into special report coverage from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. CBS News' livestream site will also centered on eclipse coverage.

PBS' "Nova" will be hosting a Facebook Live event with PBS science correspondent Miles O'Brien and commentary by astrophysicist Jason Kalirai from the Space Telescope Science Institute. That will start at noon EST.

3. After the eclipse coverage. If you can't be near a TV or a web-connected device during the actual eclipse itself, there'll no doubt be plenty of coverage on the evening news programs, and I imagine that your local news will also have plenty of reports specific to your area, so be sure to check those out, too.

But if you want just an hour of eclipse coverage after all is said and done, "Nova" will air "Eclipse Over America" at 9 p.m. Eastern. This will be the fastest turnaround for a documentary that the 43-year-old science series has broadcast.