What Should You Look For During The Total Solar Eclipse? A Few Out-Of-This World Highlights

By Valerie Schremp
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) On Monday, August 21, 2017, all of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the sun. Anyone within the path of totality can see one of nature’s most awe inspiring sights – a total solar eclipse. If you have solar glasses or a special viewer here are few highlights to look out for.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

With your solar glasses or a special viewer, watch for the partial phases of the eclipse as the moon passes over the sun, a stage that lasts for a few hours. But during those seconds or moments you see the full eclipse, you really want to watch for these highlights:

Diamond ring: The brief flash of light on the edge of the sun and moon that appears in the seconds before and after totality. Wear your solar glasses during this phase if you are looking directly at it.

Prominences: A large, bright loop of plasma extending out from the sun’s surface. They may appear pink and be near the diamond in the ring.

Totality: It’s safe to take your glasses off now and look up. The diamond ring has disappeared and the moon has completely covered the sun.

Corona: During the total eclipse, the corona of the sun will be visible. The sun will look like a dark hole in the sky. It’s the only time we can see the corona, which is the sun’s upper atmosphere. It’s usually outshone by the brightness of the sun’s surface.

Planets: In order of brightness, Venus, Jupiter, Mars and Mercury will be visible. Venus will appear to the west of the sun about 15 to 30 minutes before totality. About 30 seconds before and after totality, Mars will appear close to the west side of the sun and will appear orange. At a similar distance on the east side of the sun will be Mercury. Jupiter will be farther to the southeast of the sun.

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