Stephen: Things you might see during an eclipse

Ahead of Monday’s solar eclipse, National Geographic has compiled this list of five amazing things you’ll be able to see during the phenomenon, if you’re lucky enough to find yourself in a place where it’s visible:

  • Diamond ring effect: About 15 seconds before the moon completely covers the sun, only a tiny crescent of sunshine is left and the sun’s faint upper atmosphere begins to come into view. Around this time, the sliver of bright sunlight transitions into a stunning burst around the sun’s edge to create a diamond ring effect.
  • Baily’s beads: In the final seconds before and after totality, a series of white glowing dots of sunlight known as Baily’s beads–named for astronomer Francis Baily–appear along the edge of the moon’s silhouette.
  • Solar flares: Just as the moon begins to totally cover up the sun, titanic flares called solar prominences become visible and peek out from the edge of the darkening disc.
  • The corona: The moments when the moon fully covers the sun is the only time people on Earth can see the corona–the pastel-colored rings around the sun–without special equipment.
  • Planets and stars: On August 21, Venus and Jupiter will appear the brightest, as they will sit nearly halfway across the open sky during the eclipse. Mars and Mercury will be much closer to the sun and visible.