2024 Eclipse in Austin, TX: Family Friendly Fun | Kids Out and About Austin <

2024 Eclipse in Austin, TX: Family Friendly Fun

by Debra Ross

The Great North American Solar Eclipse, which takes place on April 8, 2024 will be a once-in-many-generations event for much of the U.S. and Canada. Each region has its own fun activities planned to help families make the most of this amazing experience to create memories for a lifetime, way beyond the few minutes of totality. Here are the best ways families living in, or traveling to Austin, TX can make the very most of this experience.

 

Help kids learn what will happen 

  • On April 8, 2024, at 12:17pm, the Austin area will experience "First Contact"--when the Moon starts to move over the face of the Sun.
     
  • For the next hour and 13 minutes, the Moon will move upward and to the left over the Sun. This is called the "partial" phase of the eclipse. All of North America outside the path of totality will only see a partial eclipse. You must use eclipse glasses or similar ISO-certified device in order to see the Sun during the partial phase.
     
  • You won't really notice a change in the amount of light around you until the Sun is about 99% covered by the Moon. In the last minute of the partial eclipse, the world will go dark very suddenly.
     
  • In the Austin area, at approximately 1:36pm depending on where you're standing, the Moon will completely cover the Sun. But make sure you look at an eclipse map for the Austin area so you can be sure you're in totality! If you’re downtown, you’ll see about 1m 50s of totality. But the Austin airport is not in the path at all. In Round Rock, you'd see almost three minutes of totality!
     
  • If there are no clouds covering the Sun, you'll see the corona of the Sun streaming around the dark Moon. It will look like a velvet hole in the sky. Around the eclipse, the sky will be midnight blue, you may see a few stars. All around the horizon, you'll see a sunset glow of red and gold. The world around you will darken to a deep twilight (it will feel like an hour after sunset).
     
  • If it is a cloudy day, you will not be able to witness the partial phases of the eclipse, but during totality, the world will plunge into pitch darkness. This is a different experience than totality on a sunny day, but no less profound and meaningful.

Prepare to experience the eclipse safely

  • Except during totality (when really what we're looking at is the Moon), we should never look directly at the Sun because of the risk of permanent eye damage. During the partial phases before and after totality, you must use ISO-certified solar filter glasses. So unless you're attending an eclipse event that provides classes, make sure to purchase approved ISO-certified solar filter glasses from a reputable source (not Amazon!). Some local libraries may be giving away free glasses; call to ask. If purchasing online, use one of the suppliers approved by the American Astronomical Society on this page, under "resellers."
     
  • You can also use a pinhole projector to project an image of the Sun through a small hole (or many small holes, as in a colander) onto the ground. The image of the eclipse will change as the Moon travels over the face of the Sun.
     
  • Only during totality can you remove the glasses and look skyward at the eclipse directly: Indeed, you MUST remove those glasses to see the total eclipse; if you don't, you won't see anything!

 


©2024, KidsOutAndAbout.com

Debra Ross is publisher of KidsOutAndAbout.com, Chair of Rochester's Eclipse Task Force, and Co-Chair of the Solar Eclipse Task Force of the American Astronomical Society



See below for upcoming eclipse-themed events that have been posted to KidsOutAndAbout.com's Austin-area calendar, both for eclipse weekend and in the weeks preceding!