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Google wants to make a solar eclipse megamovie, and you can help

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Perhaps you've noticed that there's a solar eclipse happening today, and Google wants to put together a 'megamovie' of photos and videos of the big celestial event. 

It also wants you to submit your own snaps of the occasion so it can stitch together a "continuous view" of the eclipse as the Moon blocks out the Sun.

If you're going to be eclipse-spotting in the US and taking photos of the full eclipse, you can submit pictures through the Eclipse Megamovie website (opens in new tab) by signing in with your Google credentials; you'll also need the app for iOS (opens in new tab) or Android (opens in new tab)

Google has already enlisted the help of 1,000 volunteer photographers and amateur astronomers, it says.

The resulting video, which is going live on the same day of the eclipse, will enable scientists to study patterns in the Sun's corona as well as giving the rest of us something to add to our YouTube playlists. 

The corona is the Sun's outer atmosphere, and should reveal a host of info about the Sun's size and the chemical reactions happening inside it.

Eyes up

Google has teamed up with researchers from the University of California, Berkeley to carefully stitch all of the collected photos together into one continuous shot of the view from Earth - as if one single camera was racing across the planet to keep the eclipse in view. 

"The resulting dataset will be open to the scientific community and general public for future research," says Google.

Google's apps for iOS (opens in new tab) or Android (opens in new tab) will not only help you add your snaps to the Megamovie project, they'll also help you work out where you need to be standing and at what time to get the best view. A view of the partial eclipse will begin to be visible from around 9am Pacific time on the west coast of the US before heading east.

You're also going to need a filter for your phone, as well as your eyes though - you can either buy a special filter just for your phone, or tape some solar eclipse glasses over the back of your handset. Google has some more safety advice here (opens in new tab).

David Nield
David Nield

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.