Don’t let your preparedness plans fall apart. Get ready now for the 2024 solar eclipse!
Every now and then, an eclipse is visible in Central Texas. The 2024 Total Eclipse is on April 8, 2024. It is estimated that a large number of people may visit Central Texas. If you’re getting a little bit nervous, follow the information below to view the eclipse safely.
What Happens During a Total Solar Eclipse (of the Heart)
The earth is always rotating around the sun, and the moon always circles the earth. At certain times, the moon comes between the sun and the earth, blocking out some or all of the sun's light, and temporarily casting a shadow over the earth.
Video credit NASA
The 2024 Eclipse: Where and When
The path that the moon will follow, casting its shadow and making the eclipse visible, is called the "path of totality." If you are in the narrow part of the path of totality, there may be a brief time when the sun is completely blocked out by the moon. That is what makes it a total eclipse. This is a rare occurrence, and a treat for Central Texans, who will have a front-row seat. This is the first total eclipse visible in North America since 2017—and the last one until 2044!
In the US, the eclipse will first be visible in Eagle Pass, Texas, and will cross over Central Texas, stretching all the way to Maine.
Image credit: NASA
If you are in Austin on April 8, you may see the total eclipse around 1:36 p.m. CDT. The length of total darkness will vary depending on where you are located.
In October 2023, there was another eclipse visible from Central Texas. This was known as an annular eclipse, not a total eclipse like the one we will see in 2024. Since the next eclipse will be total, a large number of people may be visiting Texas, and locals may enjoy the sights as well.
Safety Tips & How to Prepare
The eclipse is a special event for both stargazers and the general public. Large crowds, an influx of tourists, and traffic delays are possible. You should anticipate potential congestion, as both tourists and local community members flock to viewing spots.
- Plan your travel in advance, and consider carpooling. Think about avoiding non-essential travel, and stay off major roadways if possible.
- Stay informed about traffic patterns and road closures through local news and official channels.
- Have a plan with your family to communicate in case cell phone service is impacted. (Large numbers of people can temporarily overload cellular provider towers.)
- If you are traveling for the eclipse, keep a full gas tank, as well as water, snacks, first aid, and other supplies with you.
- If you are driving during the eclipse, note that your surroundings may become temporarily dark. Focus on the road, and don’t become distracted by the eclipse while driving.
Protect yourself and your family from sun-related injuries.
- Never look directly at an eclipse without eye protection while the sun is moving into and out of place for the total eclipse. Once the moon is covering the sun, eclipse glasses can be removed, and it is safe to look at the corona around the moon.
- Never look through the lens of a telescope, binoculars, or camera at an eclipse, unless you have an approved solar filter attached to the front, or you can experience severe eye injuries.
- Never use regular sunglasses to look at an eclipse. Sunglasses are not enough, and will not protect your eyes from harm.
- You must use eclipse glasses or eclipse viewers.
- To be protective enough, they must be certified, meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard, and be free of scratches to the material.
- You can also use Welder's glass, no. 13 or 14, which will provide enough protection, yet still allow you to see the eclipse.
- Get eye protection as soon as you can. As the eclipse date gets closer, it will be harder to find the eye protection you will need for safe viewing, and you may miss out.
- Supervise children and ensure they do not look into the sun, to avoid eye injury.
- Remember to wear sun protection like sunscreen and wide-brimmed hats if you are going to be outside. The sun can still be bright, and you can receive sunburns.
Where to Get Eclipse Glasses
Eclipse glasses will be available through some City of Austin facilities. Eclipse glasses are also available through private vendors and retailers.
- City of Austin Locations for Eclipse Glasses
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.
Eclipse Watch Parties will be taking place at the following APL branches on the day of the Eclipse:
- Cepeda Branch
- Hampton Branch at Oak Hill
- Menchaca Branch
- North Village Branch
- Old Quarry Branch
- Pleasant Hill Branch
- Twin Oaks Branch
- Willie Mae Kirk Branch
- Windsor Park Branch
There will also be an Eclipse Watch Party at the Central Library, featuring a pop-up exhibit from NASA. Free eclipse glasses will also be available for participants at Watch Parties.
Beginning March 11, City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department will begin distributing 10,000 free eclipse glasses at the following locations:
- Recreation Centers
- Senior Centers
- Austin Nature & Science Center
Community members are encouraged to recycle their eclipse glasses at local municipal recreation centers and libraries.
Where to Watch in Central Texas
Since the eclipse will be visible over much of Central Texas, many areas in the region are publishing viewing, visiting, and safety information about watching the eclipse. More information will be added here as it becomes available.
- Austin and Travis County
Austin and the Hill Country
- Learn about eclipse viewing for Austin and the Hill country here from Visit Austin.
City of Austin Events and Locations
Austin Public Library Branches
Several Austin Public Library branches will be hosting eclipse viewing parties, with eclipse glasses and activities for families. The Central Library will hold an event the day of the eclipse with NASA speakers. Other locations will be hosting eclipse-themed events leading up to the eclipse.
For a list of all Austin Public Library eclipse events, an up-to-date list of all Austin Public Library eclipse events can be found here.
Parks and Recreation Department Events
- In advance of the eclipse, the Austin Nature and Science Center will have free planetarium shows on the following days:
- Saturday, Feb. 10
- Saturday, Feb. 24
- Saturday, March 2
- Saturday, March 23
- Saturday, March 30
- Saturday, April 6
- Sunday, April 7
- On Monday, March 25, on the south side of Barton Springs Pool for the full-moon swim, a NASA ambassador will give a talk about the upcoming eclipse. Local astronomers and organizations will have telescopes and activities for children and families who want to learn about observing the sky.
- Saturday, April 6 and Sunday, April 7 representatives from NASA will be at the Austin Nature and Science Center with a small-scale replica of the Mars Rover. NASA scientists will provide talks about Eclipses on other Planets, Watching the Night Sky, and Mars Rover updates.
- Connelly G. Guerrero Senior Activity Center will host a live stream of the total eclipse on Monday, April 8. On hand there will be a Light-Sound device that will allow people with visual impairments to experience the eclipse.
- The Zilker Botanical Garden will have free entry on Monday, April 8 and visitors can watch the eclipse from there.
Austin City Parks with Clear Eclipse Views
The parks below are just a few of the city parks where the eclipse can be viewed. This is not an exclusive list. Due to anticipated increase in traffic that day, community members are encouraged to view the eclipse at a location near their home. Below are parks identified in each district where the eclipse can be experienced.
- District 1 - Colony Park, 7201 Colony Loop Drive – 1 minute 10 seconds of darkness
- District 2 - Onion Creek Soccer Complex, 5600 William Cannon Drive – 33 seconds of darkness
- District 3 - Roy G. Guerrero Metropolitan Park, 400 Grove Blvd. – 1 minute 7 seconds of darkness
- District 4 - Gus Garcia District Park, 1201 Rundberg Lane – 1 minute 57 seconds of darkness
- District 5 - Mary Moore Searight Metropolitan Park, 907 W. Slaughter Lane – 1 minute 12 seconds of darkness
- District 6 - Pickfair Pocket Park, 10904 Pickfair Drive - 3 minutes 0 seconds of darkness
- District 7 - Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park, 12138 N. Lamar Blvd. – 2 minutes 15 second of darkness
- District 8 - Zilker Metropolitan Park, Great Lawn – Barton Springs Road – 1 minute 44 seconds of darkness
- District 9 – Butler Park at Town Lake Metro - Long Center Viewing Party – 1 minute 44 seconds of darkness
- District 10 – Commons Ford Ranch Park – 614 Commons Ford Road – 2 minutes 53 seconds of darkness
- Park rules will be in place.
- The City of Austin prohibits camping in municipal parks the exception of Emma Long Metropolitan Park. To learn more and book a campsite, please visit Emma Long Metropolitan Park webpage.
- Learn about eclipse viewing for Austin and the Hill country here from Visit Austin.
- Williamson County and Georgetown
Williamson County's River Ranch County Park will have a viewing event. The Friends of River Ranch County Park is planning an opportunity to share with park visitors the experience of the total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024. Just like the October Eclipse Event, the Friends will have experts on hand to provide educational information about the eclipse. There will also be hands-on activities, viewing equipment, and refreshments available for a relaxing and enjoyable once in a lifetime event. This will all take place on the front lawn of the Interpretive Center. Watch for more information on the viewing event here. The park will close to incoming traffic if/when the park reaches capacity.
ComesGoes the Sun!
Only 13 states are on the narrow path of the Great North American Eclipse, and Georgetown, Texas is on that path! Plan to experience the total phase of the 2024 total eclipse in Georgetown, Texas on April 8 at 1:36 PM CDT, where the eclipse will last approximately 3 minutes and 15 seconds. During the Total Solar Eclipse, you will have the rare opportunity to observe the sun’s spectacular corona while standing in the shadow of the moon!
Please go to the Visit Georgetown website here for more information on safe eclipse viewing, lodging, and more.
- Burnet County
There are many places to view the eclipse in Burnet County, whether from a boat or along the shoreline of one of the county’s five lakes or atop any of its majestic hills. Coming up, a list will be available of the best places to legally view the eclipse in and around lakes LBJ, Marble Falls, Inks, Buchanan, and Travis.
- Lampasas County
Lampasas County has information available here including the Lampasas Eclipse Guide, and more than 20 different eclipse viewing events and parties throughout Lampasas County.
- Hays County
Hays County includes areas that are in the path of totality, including Dripping Springs and Wimberley.
Hays County has compiled tips and ideas here to help residents, visitors and business owners enjoy the total solar eclipse while also being safe, smart and respectful. Whether you're a resident, business owner or visitor, this website is a resource to help you prepare for the total eclipse.
Fredericksburg has information available online here, including information on public viewing spots like Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park and Marktplatz. There are also resources available like the Eclipse Information Guide, and the Business/Organization Preparedness Letter (available in English and Spanish).
- McDonald Observatory (Ft. Davis, Texas)
Located in west Texas, McDonald Observatory is not in the path of totality. However, Fort Davis will be able to see a partial solar eclipse. More eclipse information from the McDonald Observatory is online here.
Texas Parks & Wildlife
- 31 State of Texas parks will fall in the path of totality, including many located in Central Texas.
- Information is available on eclipse viewing in Texas state parks here.