By Katie Houdek
On Monday, August 21st the United States will be treated to a sight of astronomical proportions! Starting in the late morning hours through early afternoon, everywhere the skies are clear, we will get to witness a solar eclipse. While Texas won’t get to see a total eclipse the event is still lovely and worth checking out. Use this guide to get yourself ready for a truly rare cosmic treat!
What is a Solar Eclipse?
Our Sun is huge. Like, really huge! Our Moon, in comparison, is significantly smaller. Why is it that when you look up to the sky they seem like they’re about the same size? Well, that’s because of their relative position in relation to Earth. The Sun is about 400 times the size of the Moon but the Moon is about 400 times closer to Earth than the Sun. This is why they appear to be the same size.
Now, every now and again everything lines up just right and from our perspective the disk of the Moon crosses in front of the disk of the Sun and this creates an eclipse.
The total eclipse will not be visible from Texas but we will be treated to an amazing event nonetheless! The map below will give you an idea of how much of the Sun will be in shadow wherever it is that you’ll be located.
Looking directly at the Sun during an eclipse is a total no-no. The only safe portion to view without protective viewing fliters/glasses is totality and as we discussed this particular eclipse event will not provide Texas with the opportunity to view totality. So here’s a couple of things to be mindful of when viewing this eclipse.
View the eclipse with special eclipse glasses . These glasses should come from one of these reputable vendors of solar filters and viewers to ensure you have a quality product. If you act fast you can still get approved viewers from The Great American Eclipse.
- Always supervise children using the solar filters/glasses
- Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed Sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars or other optical device.
- If you’re able to view the eclipse in the path of totality than it is okay to remove your glasses during totality but only when the Moon completely covers the Sun’s disk. If you are outside of the path of totaility (Anywhere in Texas) you must leave your eclipse glasses on throughout the entire eclipse.
- If you travel to watch the eclipse in totality be mindful to ensure you have a full tank of gas, snacks, and plenty of water. Traffic will be incredibly heavy in many of these areas and you may be stuck in your car for hours in transit. You should also be prepared that water and food might be in shorter supply in some locations because they cannot keep up with the demand related to the influx of tourists into some small towns/locations.
What You’ll See
To see what the eclipse will look like from your location click your city below. Not in one of the cities below? Click here and enter your zip code.
Some events are more fun when it’s a party! Luckily for us here in Texas there’s plenty of places you can watch the event with fellow eclipse enthusiasts. Check the specific events out further before you head out. Some events are free, some require pre-purchased tickets, and some can be purchased on-site. Parking information is not included below.
Houston has several events you can participate in. From the Houston Museum of Natural History at Sugarland to the Children’s Museum of Houston and even Levy Park at Greenway Plaza, there’s plenty of opportunity to view the eclipse and share the event with a bunch of people who are just as geeked out as you are!
The Perot Museum of Nature and Science will be holding a free solar eclipse celebration! The museum will host activities where you can learn about solar eclipses and a viewing of the live NASA feed of the solar eclipse in totality.
You can be a part of history by celebrating the Great American Eclipse at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History with hands-on eclipse themed activities in Innovation Studios, a live stream of the eclipose in the Planetarium, solar eclipse glasses and more.
The Scobee Education Center is planning a real party for the eclipse. There will be a few solar telescopes and they’ll be giving away safe solar viewing glasses while supplies last! PLUS other fun activities for the whole family the Scobee Education Center and other community sponsors. There will be BBQ and tacos from Most Wanted Smokers out of Kyle, TX and shaved ice from Flamingo Rey’s.
View the eclipse with the Astronomy Department at The University of Texas at Austin. Eclipse glasses will be handed out on a first-come first-served bases. All activities are open to the public.
But wait… there’s more!
So, we won’t get to experience totality here in Texas this time around. While a partial solar eclipse is always a beautiful sight to behold it can’t help but lack the grandeur of totality. Well, Texas, you’re in luck! April 8th, 2024 will bring another total eclipse to the Unites States and this time parts of Texas will get to experience totality!
The Great American Eclipse
Where ever you’re at get out there and watch that eclipse! It’s a celestial treat that comes about rarely so don’t miss your chance to see it with your own eyes. Your own PROTECTED eyes! Where will you be watching the eclipse?