600 years later it’s our turn for the Celestial Event


By Anthony Collins

The year 1397 marked the last time our region was plunged into darkness by a total solar eclipse according to NASA. Imagine the confusion and fear that must have rippled through the land as the moon completely blocked the sun.

Now, after over 600 years, Texas will experience another total solar eclipse on Monday, April 8, although Texas experienced its most recent total solar eclipse on May 28, 1900. However, the path of totality only grazed the southern region of the state. The path of totality of this eclipse will cross Mexico, the United States, and Canada as the moon passes between the Earth and the sun. People often travel great distances to witness eclipses, longing to experience the eerie darkness and thrill of the celestial spectacle.

This upcoming eclipse offers a chance for locations even outside the path of totality to observe a partial eclipse of the sun. So, what causes this epic event?

A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon fully obscures the fireball in the sky, creating an illusion that the two bodies are the same size when viewed from Earth. The sun is roughly 400 times larger than our moon but also 400 times further away. If the sun was larger or the moon was further away, the phenomenon wouldn’t happen.

For up to 7 minutes and 30 seconds, the sun can be completely blocked. The 2024 eclipse will last nearly 4 and a half minutes of totality. While viewing an eclipse can be wondrous, eye safety is crucial. Except during the brief period of totality when the sun is completely covered, viewers must use proper eye protection like certified eclipse glasses. Looking directly at the sun without eye protection can cause permanent damage. For those lucky enough to be in the path of totality on April 8, eclipse glasses can only be removed when the moon has fully obscured the sun. They must be placed back on immediately after totality ends and the sun begins to reemerge. Outside the path, there is no safe time to look directly at the sun without eye protection.

For places like Lockhart, the eclipse will be visible from about 1:35 p.m. to 1:41 p.m. on April 8, with about one minute and 46 seconds of 99.5 percent totality occurring around 1:36 pm. The Lockhart State Park will be hosting a Solar Celebration beginning at 12:30 p.m. and will be giving away eclipse glasses while supplies last. After this upcoming event, Lockhart will not experience another total solar eclipse until Feb. 25, 2343, according to NASA projections. So, be sure to witness this rare celestial show while you can.


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