Oct 12, 2023 - News

Your guide to the annular solar eclipse in San Antonio

The June 21, 2020, annular solar eclipse seen from China. Photo: Jia Jiqian/VCG via Getty Images

San Antonians will get a rare glimpse at a celestial event on Saturday that much of the U.S. will miss out on.

What's happening: An annular solar eclipse — also known as a "ring of fire" eclipse — will darken skies above a narrow swath of the country from the coast of Oregon to the Texas Gulf Coast, according to NASA.

  • Kerrville, Corpus Christi and Midland will also be in the path.
  • An annular eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and Earth at or near its farthest point from Earth. The moon's apparent diameter is smaller than the sun's, blocking most of the sun's light.

Why it matters: It's the last annular solar eclipse that will be visible from the U.S. until 2039.

  • San Antonio is the largest U.S. city in the path of the eclipse. Local observers will be able to see 90% obscuration of the sun.

What to know: In San Antonio, the partial eclipse will begin at 10:23 a.m. and reach its maximum coverage (or the ring of fire) at 11:54 a.m.

  • The eclipse will end by 1:33pm.

Be careful: Solar viewing glasses are needed to safely watch the eclipse, NASA says.

  • Some local libraries are giving out glasses ahead of Saturday. See the list here.
  • You can also make a pinhole camera.

Details: Destinations and restaurants such as the Alamo, Mission San Jose, Sea World and Rosarios are hosting eclipse watch parties.

  • The tourism department offers this list of places to visit.
  • Despite a cold front moving in this week, skies are expected to be sunny for prime eclipse viewing, according to the latest Express-News forecast.

Yes, but: If you want to get away from the crowds, San Antonio and Central Texas parks in the path of the eclipse include Government Canyon State Natural Area, Guadalupe River State Park, Hill Country State Natural Area and Old Tunnel State Park.

  • Texas parks officials recommend making a reservation, and say visitors should expect traffic delays.
  • Pack a snack and water and expect spotty cell service.

Of note: If you're headed to weekend two of Austin City Limits Music Festival, you can still catch a partial eclipse at Zilker Park.

Flashback: 1940 was the last time an annular eclipse was visible in San Antonio, according to the Express-News.

What they're saying: Annular is a scientific term for doughnut, UTSA physics and astronomy professor Angela Speck says.

  • "It's hard to convey just how amazing it is to experience an eclipse. One thing is that it's not just visual. In fact, one of the coolest things to do is to find a tree. Stand by the tree and look at the shadow underneath because all of the little gaps between the leaves behave like holes. So, you get lots and lots of images of the sun."

By the numbers: Up to 1.2 million people are expected to travel to Texas to see the eclipse, according to The Great American Eclipse.

What's next: Get ready for April 8, 2024, when a total solar eclipse passes over San Antonio.


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