Jodie Foster in Contact, 1997.
From Everett Collection.
At long last, the day has finally arrived. The North American total solar eclipse that has inspired endless chatter for weeks is set to dominate the sky Monday afternoon, causing an astral event that hasn’t been visible from this-here land in 38 years. Perhaps you’ve heard about it! Perhaps, in your research about this event, you also realized you live in one of the states that is not in the path of totality—i.e. you’ll be sending an e-mail to the sun’s manager to demand a refund. Or perhaps you are in the path of totality, but you forgot to pick up a bunch of eclipse glasses like your mom asked, and now they’re all sold out, and you have absolutely ruined this once-in-a-lifetime event for your entire family.
Never fear, for you have other options! From the plentiful livestreams that are springing up online, to the various eclipse-themed movies that have dominated pop culture, here are eight things to watch instead.
The NASA livestream
God bless NASA. Just as you’d expect, the agency is livestreaming the solar eclipse in a number of ways, including on their Web site, on Facebook Live, on YouTube, and more, and is also doing pre-show coverage for all you giddy eclipse heads out there.
A Year in Space
Time followed astronaut Scott Kelly during his historic year in space, creating a wondrous online docuseries about the astronaut’s time floating above Earth. It’s a nice little something for all you nu-solar nerds who want to keep up that astronomical kick with something educational.
The 1961 film about a man released from crucifixion instead of Jesus Christ was shot in Italy during an actual solar eclipse. The celestial event was woven into the plot, with director Richard Fleischer staging the crucifixion to take place in the eerie shadow of the eclipse. You can watch a clip of the extraordinary event above, around the 2:45 mark.
Little Shop of Horrors
If your plants start acting up during the eclipse, don’t say Rick Moranis didn’t warn you. In the classic musical, solar eclipses are revealed to be the catalyst for rather strange behavior. Keep an eye on your pothos and flytraps, and anyone named Audrey.
Because everyone in the path of totality will be on Facebook later doing their own version of Jodie Foster’s breathless “They should have sent a poet!” line.
This one’s for those of you disappointed that we haven’t yet discovered (or been discovered by) aliens, who click on every new NASA update with a flutter of hope that’s quickly stamped out by alien-free reality. There, there, you unidentified flying oddball—the F.B.I. adventures of Scully and Mulder are available to stream on Hulu Plus.
Listen, if the Twilight series is good enough for Stevie Nicks, it’s good enough for you!
The 1979 solar eclipse
If you’re already feeling nostalgic by the time this eclipse ends, watch the last time this spectacular event happened back in 1979. ABC News covered it then on February 26, 1979, with feeds showing the eclipse as it reached totality. Come for the vintage, grainy footage; stay for the bittersweet final moment, when host Frank Reynolds makes this hopeful closing remark: “So that’s it, the last solar eclipse to be seen on this continent in this century. As I said, not until August 21, 2017, will another eclipse be visible from North America. That’s 38 years from now. May the shadow of the moon fall on a world at peace.”
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