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Other planets and stars might be visible during April’s eclipse

Published Mar 9th, 2024 3:10PM EST
total solar eclipse
Image: Petr Mašek / Adobe

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April will bring the last total solar eclipse the mainland U.S. will see for the next twenty years or so. But beyond the beauty of an eclipse, skywatchers will also potentially be able to catch sight of additional planets and even a comet during April’s eclipse.

According to reports featured on WFLA, the total solar eclipse may also give us some good views of Jupiter, Venus, and even a once-in-71-year comet. It’s exciting news for skywatchers, especially since the eclipse itself will be quite a delightful scene when it happens.

These planets will mostly only be visible during 100% totality, though, which is a bit disappointing since you’ll probably want to be paying attention to the main event when that happens. Venus will be the most prominent, and it will appear to the southeast of the eclipsed Sun. Jupiter will also be visible during April’s eclipse, and it will appear to the northwest of the Sun.

The easiest way to spot these possible eclipse attendees will be to stretch your arm out completely and ball your hand into a fist. When you do this, your first is roughly 10 degrees. You can use that to measure 30 degrees from the Sun to find where Jupiter might appear.

As with any eclipse, though, you’ll need to make sure you’re wearing proper eclipse gear when the event happens. As such, it might make it more difficult to spot the other planets and even the comet, which is a comet known as the 12P/Pons-Brooks comet.

This comet is sometimes called the “Devil Comet” because the dual flares that it creates give it a horn-like appearance. It will be around 25 degrees from the Sun to the east. But, of course, you shouldn’t waste too much time looking for other objects during April’s eclipse. It is the last total solar eclipse we’re likely to see until the 2040s, and you won’t want to spoil it by looking for things you can see at other times in your life.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.