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Five things to look for during the total solar eclipse

Solar Eclipse Things
Posted at 1:26 PM, Apr 02, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-04 13:07:31-04

INDIANAPOLIS — If you’re inside the path of totality on April 8, you will have about four minutes to take it all in. But what does that mean?

Brian Murphy, the director of the Holcomb Observatory at Butler University, wants Hoosiers to be prepared for the solar eclipse and shared these five tips to ensure you get the most out of this once-in-a-lifetime event.

1. Shadow bands or snake bands

“As we near totality, particularly that last minute, we can get what are called snake bands or shadow bands racing across the Earth's surface,” Murphy said. “And that's due to the turbulence in the Earth's atmosphere, and having this thin crescent [that] almost acts like a fluorescent light over the top of a swimming pool. We see these linear bands at the bottom.”

2. Diamond ring effect

“The next thing people might note, as they get to the final five seconds of totality, is something we call the diamond ring effect,” Murphy said. “It looks like a diamond ring because we've just got that last little speck of sunlight left, and we can start to see the corona of the sun. Shortly after, is when you're going to be able to take those [eclipse] glasses off and see the full corona of the sun. It looks like a black hole is opening up in the sky and seeing that corona is the most amazing sight you can take in.”

3. Planets

“You'll see Jupiter on the upper left, and Venus to the lower right [of the eclipse] very easily,” Murphy said. “They are the two brightest objects. You might even want to pick out some other brighter stars in the sky that might be visible."

4. Glow along horizon

“We're in the middle of this big column of shadow of the moon, but 50 to 60 miles off in each direction, the sun will still be shining,” Murphy said. “You'll get this orange glow along the horizon. It’ll look like a 360-degree sunset.”

5. The moon’s shadow

“Another thing to notice, and you can see this before totality, is the moon’s shadow coming at you at 2,000 miles per hour,” Murphy said. “If we have any high thin cirrus clouds, you might see that shadow on the top of those high clouds and the moon racing at us.”