Enlarge / Look all you want… in VR, this kind of view of the sun is completely safe to stare at.
I’ve been told that being present for a total eclipse of the sun is a life-changing experience.

But I wasn’t able to get my act together to travel to the path of totality for today’s event. Luckily, I am part of the first generation to be able to experience an eclipse vicariously through the magic of virtual reality. While seeing a total eclipse in VR wasn’t exactly a life-changing experience, it was one of the best examples I’ve seen of the power and promise of live, 360 degree video.
I first tried to view CNN’s 360-degree Facebook Live video coverage of the eclipse on my Oculus Rift.

Despite numerous tries, though, the livestream never showed up as a choice on the list of “New” or “Top Pick” videos available on the Oculus Video app. Without a built-in search function or any way to navigate to a specific URL or some such, viewing the eclipse on Rift was a bust.
As a backup, I dug out the latest Samsung Gear VR headset and a Galaxy S7 Edge. While I waited for some necessary updates to download, I was able to watch CNN’s “VR” coverage in a simple web browser window, using the mouse to tilt the virtual camera between the people on the ground and the sun in the sky. Having control of the viewpoint was nice, but watching through a small window on a laptop screen didn’t really feel all that different from watching similar coverage on TV.
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