Mercury (mv=+0.7) and Venus (mv=3.5) are located 18° west and 15° east of the Sun, respectively, and both will be easily visible during totality. Venus is two months past inferior conjunction while Mercury is one month shy of superior conjunction. As the brightest planet in the sky, Venus can actually be observed in broad daylight provided that the sky is cloud free and of high transparency (i.e., no dust or particulates). Look for the planet during the partial phases by first covering the crescent Sun with an extended hand. Venus will be shining so brightly, it will be impossible to miss during totality. Mercury will prove much more challenging, but not too difficult if the sky transparency is good. Under the right circumstances, it should be possible to view all five classical planets, the Moon and the Sun (or at least its corona) as one's eyes sweep across the darkened sky during totality. A number of the brightest winter/spring stars may also be visible during totality. Regulus (mv=+1.35) is 10° east of the Sun while Castor (mv=+1.94) and Pollux (mv=+1.14) stand 31° and 28° to the northwest. Procyon (mv=+0.38) and Sirius (mv=-1.46) are located 30° and 52° to the southwest, respectively. Betelgeuse (mv=+0.5v) and Rigel (mv=+0.12) are low in the southwest at 26° and 38°, while Aldebaran (mv=+0.85) is 20° above the western horizon. Capella (mv=+0.08) lies 63° to the northwest. Finally, Arcturus (mv=+1.94) lies due east 30° above the horizon.
The following ephemeris [using Bretagnon and Simon, 1986] gives the positions of the naked eye planets during the eclipse. Delta is the distance of the planet from Earth (A.U.'s), V is the apparent visual magnitude of the planet, and Elong gives the solar elongation or angle between the Sun and planet.
|Object||RA||Dec||Delta||V||Size (")||Phase||Elong (°)|
For sky maps from other locations along the path of totality, see the
special Web site for the total solar eclipse of
1999 August 11.
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