NASA teams up with Epic’s Fortnite and Microsoft’s Minecraft to stream the April 8 solar eclipse


If you somehow don’t know about the solar eclipse this coming Monday, then you’re probably not in the US since that’s all anyone here is talking about. The path of totality – that is, the area where people can view the moon completely block the sun – happens to run across a huge chunk of North America, meaning folks from Montreal (Canada) to Dallas (USA) to Durango (Mexico) will get one hell of a show from their backyards. And the rest of the US will still see a spectacular partial eclipse.

So why are we talking about this on an MMO website? Well, it’s because NASA is collaborating with gaming companies and esports groups to stream and promote the event with eclipse-themed minigames in Minecraft and Fortnite. It’s called “Look Up!”

“Exciting as it would be to see the highly-anticipated upcoming Solar Eclipse in person along its path zones, many of us will have to find another way. On April 8, Twitch and NASA have viewers covered with live footage and more, offering a dynamic way to view this moment as a part of a larger community of fans tuning in. NASA and Epic Games/Microsoft have partnered with the National Esports Association to have NEA students create eclipse-themed versions of Fortnite and Minecraft. The games will be streamed by a handful of Minecraft & Fortnite streamers and their livestream will appear right alongside live eclipse footage brought to you by NASA in a lively co-stream.”

The stream covers the entire eclipse with plenty of time for hoopla and maybe even some science before and after; specifically, it’s April 8th from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. EDT on Twitch.

I won’t be making the journey to the path of totality this round, but we trekked to Tennessee for the 2017 eclipse, and it was just as awe-inspiring as everyone says – as was the day and night of standstill highway traffic afterward that meant we slept in our car unplanned with a 5yo and 3yo in tow (not ideal!). If you can go, do it, just be prepared for chaos! And yeah hopefully it goes without saying, but please, when you “Look Up!” don’t stare at the sun without eclipse glasses. Seriously. It’s not a joke. Love, the wife of an astrophysicist.

Source: Press release, Twitch
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