The Great Texas Eclipse! Here’s what you’ll see April 8 during the total solar eclipse

The path of totality features an experience like no other

The lines matter:

31.8 million people in the United States live in the path of totality for the total solar eclipse happening in April. In Texas, 12.8 million people live between the lines. This is the next ‘Great American Eclipse!’ And we’re also calling it the ‘Great Texas Eclipse!’

How to watch: Special coverage of Monday’s ‘Great Texas Eclipse’ from KPRC

Where will you be this day? This decision is the difference between seeing something cool, to having an overwhelming emotional experience.

Some of the larger Texas cities in the path of totality (KPRC 2)
If you are staying in Houston:

Houston’s population is 2.3 million people. If everyone stayed home, you’d see a partial eclipse with 94% of the sun covered at 1:40 PM. The sun and the moon will be at 67° as you look south. Houston is 124 miles away from the nearest line of totality. If you don’t already have plans, an early morning trip will be worth what you’ll see.

Look south 67° above the horizon (KPRC 2)
1:40 PM is when the sun is 94% eclipsed (KPRC 2)
The path of totality:

The moon travels at twice the speed of sound with a ground velocity more than 2,000 miles per hour. As the umbral shadow passes over Texas, the sights you’ll see are truly remarkable. And unlike the 2017 total eclipse, the path is larger and the time to see totality is longer.

The total eclipse starts in Texas at 1:27 PM CDT. Eagle Pass, Texas is the first place to experience the awe-inspiring view of the moon blocking out the sun.

Eagle Pass, Texas is first at 1:27 PM CDT (Copyright 2024 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)
What you’ll see first and last - The Diamond Ring Effect:

Moments before totality begins, as the last of the sun’s light goes into the moon’s shadow a “diamond ring” in the sky appears. To me, this is the most memorable and striking thing you’ll see. It only lasts a brief moment and serves as a reminder to take off your solar eclipse glasses to see the total eclipse.

My favorite part of a total solar eclipse
2nd Baily’s Beads:

Another spectacular site that only lasts a few moments are Baily’s Beads. These are named after Sir Frances Baily who was the first to describe them in 1836. These occur as the sun’s light pass through the low lying valleys of the moon. The moon is rugged with craters covering the outer edges. People who witness totality from the outside lines get a much better view than those on the center line. San Antonio, Austin and Fort Worth should see plenty of these beads.

Beads are top right part of the image.
3rd Totality - Seeing the sun’s corona:

During totality we get a rare look at the sun’s outer most atmosphere. It is intricate and feathery made up of free electrons and protons that are trapped in the sun’s loopy and streaky magnetic field. The sun is 1,000 times brighter than the corona. This brilliance overwhelms the corona so the only time we can see it is during a total solar eclipse.

The corona is hot! It is 2 million degrees compared to the surface of the sun which is 50,000°. Corona is Spanish for crown. The entire state of Texas gets more than 4 minutes to see this. Because are at solar maximum, the corona will be more brilliant than 2017. Pictures, no matter how good, can never capture what our eyes see of this spectacular site. Below is an example, from Killeen, Texas showing that this city will get 4 minutes and 16 seconds of totality. In Oregon, 2017, I got 58 seconds.

The corona as seen from Casper, Wyoming during the 2017 total solar eclipse
Total solar eclipse lasts 4 minutes and 16 seconds (Copyright 2023 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)
Also during totality - Prominences & the sun’s Chromosphere:

Prominences are large, bright, gaseous features that extend outward from the Sun’s surface into its outer atmosphere. They are manifestations of the Sun’s magnetic field interacting with its hot plasma. They look like flares erupting from the sun. These are easier to see with a telescope or binoculars.

Courtesy: Houston Museum of Natural Science

The Chromosphere, or sphere of color, comes from hydrogen atoms. It is a crimson, pink color. Both prominences and the chromosphere are mostly seen on the outer edge of the line of totality and occur the moments after totality starts and right before it ends.

In prime locations you can see this pinkish color outline the entire sun.
The end of totality:

As totality comes to an end, you’ll experience everything described above in reverse order. Seeing the diamond ring effect one more time signifies totality is over.

One last thing:

To see the eclipse, you need special ISO certified glasses. We are giving away 10,000 KPRC 2 glasses Spring Break week for free. Here is how you get a pair.

Planning to travel somewhere for the total solar eclipse? Bookmark our Click2Pins page and share your photos and videos!

About the Author

Two-time Emmy award winning meteorologist and recipient of the 2022 American Meteorological Society’s award for Excellence in Science Reporting by a Broadcast Meteorologist.

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