When the solar eclipse hits, you’ll see these radiant planets

The solar eclipse on April 8, 2024 will allow us to see some worlds in the solar system.

For those in the 115-mile-wide path of totality, where the moon completely blocks the sun for a few minutes, the sky (weather permitting) will darken to a deep twilight. When that happens, millions of Americans will be able to see multiple planets.

Two will be especially radiant. You can’t miss them.

“Jupiter and Venus will jump,” Aileen O’Donoghue, a radio astronomer at St. Lawrence University, told Mashable. O’Donoghue added that both objects will be brighter than Sirius, which is the brightest star in our night sky.

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“Jupiter and Venus will jump.”

The path of the total solar eclipse of April 8, 2024.
Credit: NASA Scientific Visualization Studio

The planets you can see during the 2024 solar eclipse

Venus

“Venus will burn,” O’Donoghue emphasized.

During the total solar eclipse, it will be located below the sun, about 15 degrees down to the right. You can use your extended fist at arm’s length to measure this distance. An extended fist measures about 10 degrees.

Crushable speed of light

Venus is bright because it is relatively close to Earth and is covered by extremely thick clouds that trap heat. These clouds reflect much of the sunlight back into space.

Jupiter

The gas giant Jupiter will also attract attention. “Jupiter is going to be pretty obvious,” O’Donoghue explained.

The planet, eleven times wider than Earth, will be above and to the left of the eclipsed Sun, about 30 degrees away (three fists).

Another planets

Although Jupiter and Venus will be the planetary stars of the show, you may be able to see other planets as well. Both Saturn and Mars will appear near the horizon in the southwest. They will be quite low, about 10 degrees above the horizon. “They could get out,” O’Donoghue said.

A time lapse of the moon eclipsing the sun in August 2017 during a total solar eclipse.

A time lapse of the moon eclipsing the sun in August 2017 during a total solar eclipse.
Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

The Devil’s Comet

Comet 12/P Pons-Brooks, in the midst of a journey to the inner solar system, could potentially be visible during the eclipse. But unlike planets, you’ll need binoculars to see this smaller, fainter object. It will be just to the right of Jupiter and may be visible if it produces an explosion of dust and gas as it approaches the sun.

But remember, you can only use regular binoculars to view the sun (or near it) if you are on the path of totality, and only when the moon has completely blocked the sun. Mashable goes in-depth here on when to wear your eclipse glasses.

Enjoy the cosmic view above.

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