Eclipse Viewing, Texas-Style

by Julie Tereshchuk on August 20, 2017 in Living Texas, Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio,

Texans can still have an awe-inspiring view of the August 21 solar eclipse, says Torvald Hessel, even though the Lone Star state does not lie in the primary viewing corridor.

Exciting as the rare event is though, don’t forget safety considerations cautions Hessel, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of the Texas Museum of Science & Technology (TXMOST).

The last total solar eclipse in the United States was in 1979, while Europe had one in 1999.

This year, in Texas, the sun will be about 70% covered. In the so-called path of totality, a small stretch of the country from Oregon to Virginia, it will be dark enough to see stars and planets, and birds will go to sleep.

Texans can look forward to 2024, when a total eclipse will come over Texas, explains Hessel.

Can’t wait until 2024, and staying in-state on August 21? Then head over to Cedar Park, and the eclipse viewing party at TXMOST. The family-friendly party kicks off at 10am. Don’t arrive too late, as the eclipse ends at 2:40pm.

“We’ll be livestreaming the eclipse from NASA’s feed, which will show the eclipse from various locations as it travels from coast to coast,” says Hessel.

The museum will also have special shows about the sun in the planetarium and experts on hand to help guests view the eclipse safely in the outdoor event space, and answer questions. They’ve already got solar eclipse glasses on sale so you can show up prepared on the big day.

“In Texas, in order to look at the sun you must always wear eclipse glasses or welding glasses,” explains Hessel. “Never ever look at the sun through binoculars or a telescope,” the astrophysicist stresses.

Another safe way to observe the sun is through a pinhole projector that you can construct yourself. “It’s a really fun family activity,” says Hessel. High praise from a professor of astronomy!

Visitors to TXMOST can also see the museum’s other exhibits during their visit,  including the TimeWalk exhibit showcasing dinosaur fossils from the Precambrian Era, through the Jurassic, into the Holocene Period.  (Heads up: the museum closes August 22nd, reopening in September.)