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Total Solar Eclipse 2024: Everything You Need to Know About the Celestial Event in Austin!

As we have all heard by now, our area is about witness one of the most spectacular celestial events of our lifetime. Those lucky enough to be within a 115-mile wide band will see a total solar eclipse on Monday, April 8th. The total solar eclipse will cross fifteen states from Texas to Maine, and Austin happens to fall right in the path of 100% totality. Here is everything you need to know to be prepared for a mesmerizing experience!

What's All the Buzz About?

A total solar eclipse is an extremely rare sight. During a total solar eclipse, the Moon moves between the Earth and the Sun, completely blocking the Sun. The Sun is 400 times larger than the Moon, but it is also 400 times farther away from Earth making the Sun and the Moon appear to be the same size in the sky. According to the City of Austin, the last time Austin was in the path of a total solar eclipse was May 26, 1397! The next one will be February 25, 2343.

Where and When You May See It:

The National Solar Observatory's Solar Eclipse Map is a fantastic resource to find out the percentage of totality, when the eclipse will begin and how long it will last for your precise location. You won't be able to reach anyone in our office between 1:36pm and 1:38pm on Monday!

Safety and Preparation:

Remember, staring directly at the Sun without proper eye protection is a big no-no. Sunglasses won't cut it! Be sure to get eclipse glasses or eclipse viewers which are certified, and meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard. All Austin Public Library branches and the Central Library will have a limited number of free eclipse glasses available for the public starting on Thursday, April 4, while supplies last!

It is estimated that over a million visitors will be traveling to Texas to catch the spectacle. So prepare for some traffic and heavier congestion in and around Austin. Many towns around Texas and the Hill Country are canceling school for the day to prepare for large influxes of people. Since Austin is at the edge of the totality zone, we may not see such crowds, however, the city is still recommending staying near your home, school or work for the eclipse to minimize traffic. If you do find yourself enroute during the eclipse, do NOT stop on the road. For more safety tips, visit Get Ready Central Texas.

Fun Facts to Light Up Your 2024 Eclipse Experience:

  • During totality, nocturnal wildlife sometimes wakes up thinking it’s night time. Non-nocturnal wildlife might head to sleep.

  • The glowing halo surrounding the Sun during the eclipse is called the solar corona; the Sun’s outer atmosphere consisting of super hot 2-milllion degree plasma.

  • Planets and stars can be seen during the daytime with the naked eye during a total solar eclipse.

  • Solar eclipses only occur at New Moon but not every New Moon. Because the Moon’s orbit tilts at 5 degrees related to Earth’s orbit around the Sun, only when they line up just right do we see a solar eclipse.

  • Everyone in the continental U.S. will see at least a partial eclipse. However, a partial eclipse, whether 16, 56 or 96%, is nothing like a total solar eclipse. You will not notice your surroundings getting dark. Only totality reveals the true celestial spectacle: the diamond ring, the Sun’s glorious corona, strange colors in our sky, and seeing stars in the daytime.

  • The first place to experience totality in the continental U.S., will be at the Mexican border in Las Quintas Fronterizas, Texas, at 1:27pm.

  • According Michael Zeiler, who helps run the Great American Eclipse website, when it comes to the scale of travel expected across the country, it’s equivalent to having 50 Super Bowls simultaneously from Texas to Maine!

So, get ready to don your eclipse glasses, marvel at the cosmic spectacle, and maybe even snap a few Instagram-worthy shots (with an approved solar filter of course). Remember, the universe is putting on a show, and you may have a front-row seat! Until next time, keep looking up, Austin 😎


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