Look out for comet, planets during the total solar eclipse

April 8th is all about the Moon stealing the show from the Sun during a total solar eclipse. However, the temporary daytime darkness also provides an excellent opportunity to observe some planets and even a colorful comet.

The eclipse will be visible across parts of Mexico, Canada and the U.S., from Texas to Maine. A total solar eclipse happens when the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth, completely blocking the face of the Sun for several minutes. 

In 2024, the eclipse will happen during the afternoon, and those along the path of totality will experience dusk-like darkness. According to NASA, during the eclipse, you will be able to see some planets and stars that are generally not visible during the night at this time of year.


In the context of the eclipse, where everyone will be looking (with their solar glasses), here's where to look for the planets: Jupiter will be to the upper left of the Sun, and Venus, Saturn and Mars will be to the lower right. 

Additionally, comet 12P Pons-Brooks continues to put on a wild show with outbursts as it nears its closest point in orbit to the Sun, known as perihelion. 

The comet is expected to be nearest the Sun in its 71-year orbit at about the same time as the April 8th total solar eclipse. During the eclipse, comet 12P might be visible to the right of Jupiter.


Even those not in the path of totality across the U.S. will experience a partial solar eclipse, which is something to enjoy. 

A total solar eclipse won't pass over a large part of the U.S. again until 2044.

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