Wondering what you'll see during the total solar eclipse on August 21st? Use our all-sky maps to figure it out!
If you’ve never seen a total solar eclipse before, you might be wondering what to expect before and after the moment of totality. We’ve already published a detailed timeline to help you prepare for the event — what you can see and when you can see it. Below, you’ll find all-sky maps to help you identify those bright points of light that may be visible around the time of totality.
As the sky grows darker, watch for bright planets and stars to appear; their visibility will depend on your sky conditions. As an example, during the total solar eclipse I observed from Varanasi, India, partial cloud cover scattered light so the day didn’t grow as dark as expected. The clouds also hid some of the sky from us, of course.
Let's assume good conditions for everyone! Under ideal skies, you might be able to see Venus about 35° (approximately 3½ times the width of your fist held at arm’s length) to the right (west) of the Sun. Depending on your location, you may be able to spot Jupiter trailing well behind the Sun, about 50° (5 fists) to the east.
During totality, you’re probably going to want to focus on solar phenomena — prominences and the corona — but if you’ve got binoculars, it’s safe to view the eclipse during totality only without filters. Look for Regulus, snugged up to the Sun’s left (east) side. Moving about 8° away from the Sun toward Venus, you may pick up the modest light of Mars.
We’ve drawn the maps for representative locations in the United States — click on the images below to download the map for the spot nearest you. Print it and take it outside with you during the eclipse. Totality is brief, though, so don't stress out trying to see everything in the sky. The most important show is happening with the Sun and Moon!
Clear skies, and be safe out there!