Total Solar Eclipse 2024: What is 'planetary parade' and how to witness it? Here's all you need to know - Hindustan Times

Total Solar Eclipse 2024: What is 'planetary parade' and how to witness it? Here's all you need to know

By, New Delhi
Apr 08, 2024 12:47 PM IST

In the midst of Total Solar Eclipse 2024, a rare celestial phenomenon known as 'planetary parade' is set to captivate sky gazers worldwide. All details inside.

Attention stargazers and astronomy enthusiasts! Get ready for the biggest astronomical event of the year: a Total Solar Eclipse set to grace the night sky on April 8. This rare occurrence will cast a shadow over specific regions, granting viewers within its path an extraordinary vision of daytime darkness, accompanied by the breathtaking display of the sun's corona. Enthusiasts of the cosmos can witness the eclipse live, spanning several hours across various locations worldwide. The Total Solar Eclipse of this year will commence at 9:12 pm (IST) on April 8 and will conclude at 2:22 am on April 9. Lucky observers will also have the chance to witness an awe-inspiring 'planetary parade', akin to a celestial procession. (Also read: Total Solar Eclipse 2024: Solar Eclipse on April 8 not visible in India; How to watch it online from anywhere )

The Total Solar Eclipse of 2024 brings with it an extraordinary event known as the 'planetary parade.' (NASA)
The Total Solar Eclipse of 2024 brings with it an extraordinary event known as the 'planetary parade.' (NASA)

What is planetary parade?

During the solar eclipse, a remarkable celestial event awaits as seven planets—Uranus, Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, Neptune, Saturn, and Mars—align near the sun, offering a rare spectacle where all major planets of the solar system are visible simultaneously. Adding to this extraordinary sight, Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks will grace the sky, further enhancing the cosmic display. Such gatherings of planets are fondly known as planetary parades, making this event an exceptional celestial extravaganza for astronomers and sky watchers alike.

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Who can witness it?

To witness the extraordinary celestial phenomena accompanying the upcoming solar eclipse, one must position themselves within the narrow path of totality, spanning approximately 115 miles wide. This path stretches across northern Mexico, parts of 15 US states, and five Canadian provinces.

Within this specific corridor, observers will have the unique opportunity to experience totality, characterized by daytime darkness, the mesmerizing corona of the sun, and the enchanting presence of multiple planets, potentially including a comet.

People who are not in this path will not be able to see the amazing celestial show; even if they are lucky enough to see a 99% partial eclipse, they will only see a "smiley face"-shaped partial blackout of the sun through eclipse glasses.

How to watch it?

When the moon completely obscures the brilliant face of the sun during the brief total phase of a total solar eclipse, it is unsafe to look directly at the sun without appropriate eye protection. Viewing any portion of the bright sun through a telescope, binoculars, or camera lens without a specific solar filter affixed to the front of the optics would instantly result in significant eye injury. It's therefore essential to have the necessary safety precautions on hand.

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