Get Ready for the Great American Eclipse of the Sun
The eclipse of the sun occurring August 21 this year is dubbed the “Great American Solar Eclipse” because of how the path of totality crosses directly over the continental United States. It is only visible from the United States and parts of Canada and Mexico.
In East Texas there will be about 80 percent coverage, according to Brian Kremer of the Center for Earth and Space Science Education in Tyler.
“It will absolutely be worth watching,” he said. “Solar eclipses are very rare, even partial ones.”
Kremer advises that anyone wanting to view the eclipse should have special eyewear so as not to damage the eyes.
“There are a lot of options ranging from welders’glasses to solar viewers to things that can be made at home like a pinhole viewer.”
The center will have a special daytime “star party” for guests to see the eclipse. They have a planetarium show about eclipses, how they work, and what is actually happening between the Earth, moon, and sun. After the show visitors can go outside to watch the eclipse over the next few hours. They are passing out solar viewers and have solar telescopes set up for people to watch it in greater detail. The planetarium show will run again after the eclipse for those that may have missed it before.
For those that want to watch the eclipse on their own, Kremer said the moon first starts to pass in front of the sun at 11:43 a.m. and the whole process takes about three hours, ending at about 2:43 p.m. The greatest eclipse is around 1:14 p.m. he said and it will be noticeably darker.
“If we were able to see the total solar eclipse, then you would be able to see stars in the sky during it,” Kremer said. “But since we are not going to see totality, we won’t see stars that well, but it will get darker.”
The next total solar eclipse visible for East Texas will not occur until April 8, 2024, Kremer said.
Learn more about planetarium activities at sciencecenter.tjc.edu or call 903.510.2312.