Will I see stars or planets during the eclipse?

Picture Credit: Jamie Carter

Darkness in the day will give stargazers a temporary view of the planet Venus, perhaps more

Stargazing in the day, anyone? In the two minutes-or-so of darkness created by the Total Eclipse of the Sun, stars and planets will be temporarily visible.

OK, so you’re going to be using those precious minutes to look at Totality — the magical Solar Corona spilling into space around the Moon — but do take a few seconds to look around the rest of the sky. Even the sight of the Moon-shadow rolling around the sky is one not to be missed.

Near the Sun and Moon will be Jupiter on the far left, and Venus on the right — with Venus almost certain to be the brightest thing you can see other than the spectacle of the eclipse. However, those with beady eyes (or, more likely, those looking at Totality through binoculars or a small telescope) will see perhaps Mars, Mercury and Regulus — the brightest star in the constellation of Leo — in close proximity to the eclipse.

It’s Regulus that will most impress those using binoculars or a small telescope to view Totality, as it will be just away from the disc, a little to the left, and will be visible in binoculars to anyone scanning the surface of the Sun for red explosions — called prominences — that are often visible during Totality.

The Sun is in the constellation of Leo when the eclipse occurs on August 21, 2017.

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