The totally epic total eclipse in Texas
By U.S. Senator John Cornyn, R-Texas
Apr 6, 2024
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In the vast expanse and starry skies of the Lone Star State, there’s something special on the horizon.

Mark your calendars for April 8, 2024, when parts of Texas are set to experience a total solar eclipse. This rare celestial phenomenon occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth, completely blocking the face of the sun. For just a few minutes, folks who are in the “path of totality” will experience darkness as the moon casts its shadow on the Earth.

This year’s eclipse is set to be the biggest one yet in North America with about 40 million people across Mexico, the U.S., and Canada all getting front-row seats to catch a glimpse of the sun's corona. According to the National Eclipse website, this eclipse is going to hang around longer in Texas than anywhere else in the country, bringing potentially hundreds of thousands of tourists to the Lone Star State to witness this captivating sight and making us as the top spot for eclipse-watching in the whole country! Given that this total solar eclipse won’t happen again in the U.S. until 2044, it's sure to be one for the history books. In fact, the last time we had a totality this long in North America was June 16, 1806 – more than two centuries ago! You better believe there is a lot of excitement for what's in store.

In Texas, the path of totality will start in Del Rio, head northeast towards Waco, and continue to Texarkana before traveling through Oklahoma and 11 other states. Even though totality will only last a minute or two in some locations, it will take about 25 minutes for it to travel the roughly 480 miles through Texas. From small country towns to bustling cities, more than 12.8 million Texans live in the path of totality and are gearing up to celebrate the eclipse in style.

Exact timing for this solar spectacle will vary in each city, but in Dallas, the partial eclipse is expected to start at 12:23 p.m. CT and last just under three hours, with totality taking place from 1:40 p.m. to 1:44 p.m. CT. The extent of darkness you'll see depends on where you're watching from, so be sure to plan ahead if you want the full experience!

A few possibilities for where to watch include the Central Library in Austin, where they’re throwing an eclipse-viewing party complete with a solar telescope and festivities for children. The NASA Heliophysics Education Activation Team will partner with the Dallas Arboretum for an extraordinary all-day event featuring the eclipse as well. Burnet is also hosting a Texas Eclipse Festival, while The Alamo, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, SeaWorld, and Natural Bridge Caverns are all holding viewing parties. No matter where you view the eclipse, don’t forget to protect your eyes with certified eclipse glasses! It’s also a good idea to check out local schedules and guidelines to account for the expected uptick in traffic and tourism.

For decades, Texans have looked to the skies in awe and wonder, seeking to understand the mysteries of the cosmos. April 8th will be a chance to see a fascinating astronomical event that doesn’t happen every day. Grab your eclipse glasses, pack a picnic, and get ready for this once-in-a-lifetime moment best seen from the Lone Star State. After all, everything is bigger in Texas.

Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees.