Eclipse, Texas

2023 Solar Eclipse Guide

No, it’s not the end of the world. When the sky goes dark on an otherwise sunny day, it can definitely feel ominous. But a solar eclipse is really a normal, natural, and beautiful event. What is rare is that we get to see one so close to home. And on Saturday, October 14, one of these spectacular displays will move right through the skies over Boerne.

The Texas Hill Country is a prime location to see this exciting phenomenon this year. Everyone from avid astronomers to casual sky watchers will make their way to a swath of the Lone Star State to watch the Sun play hide-and-seek with us.

So we’ve put together a handy guide to help you prepare for the light show and get the most out of your eclipse experience this year!

Let’s start with the basics.
What is a solar eclipse? And what makes an “annular” eclipse different?

A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun, temporarily blocking the Sun's light. This celestial dance creates a mesmerizing spectacle, turning day into night for a brief moment. They’re actually pretty common, with a total eclipse taking place roughly every 18 months. What is less common is one taking place while the Sun is over land where people could see it — remember that 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water.

An annular eclipse is a type of solar eclipse where the Moon covers the central part of the Sun, leaving a glowing ring ("annulus") around its edges. This happens when the Moon is slightly further away from us so its apparent size doesn’t cover the Sun’s entire disc. Unlike a total eclipse, the Sun's bright corona remains visible during an annular eclipse, giving it a unique and awe-inspiring appearance.

Where can I watch the 2023 solar eclipse?
Fortunately for us, the eclipse will be visible over a pretty wide area around us, but the closer you are to the center of the path, the longer the period of annularity will last. In Boerne, we should see almost four minutes of annularity, starting just after 11:51 a.m. If you ventured a few miles southwest of Bandera however, you could see a full extra minute of maximum darkness.

Ideal spots for observing this cosmic show around Boerne include open fields, parks, or elevated viewpoints away from city lights. Consider scenic locations like Joshua Springs Park and Preserve or Kreutzberg Canyon Natural Area. Embrace the unique charm of Boerne's landscape as you watch the Moon delicately envelop the Sun, or celebrate in a more festive fashion at Main Plaza as the "ring of fire" takes over the sky.

What is the best way to see a solar eclipse?
Even when it’s behind the Moon, it’s never safe to look directly at the Sun. Make sure you’re using certified eclipse glasses — regular sunglasses do not count. Look for reputable sources and make sure your glasses meet recommended safety standards. If you're using telescopes or binoculars, use proper solar filters to avoid eye damage. Don’t like things on your face? You can still watch the eclipse using an indirect viewing method like a pinhole or box projector. These can be easily made in advance. Finally, always be mindful of your surroundings – choose safe, open spaces away from traffic and hazards.

When will the next solar eclipse happen in our area?
So what if you can’t see this one? Or heaven forbid it turns out to be a cloudy day? Or maybe it’s so beautiful you just want more? Amazingly, eclipse watchers in the Boerne area won’t have to wait long because an actual total eclipse will grace our skies in just a few months' time. Yes, we’ll get to see a total eclipse on April 8, 2024. So hold on to those eclipse glasses and pinhole cameras because you’ll be putting them to use again soon.

While the annular eclipse this year is expected to be a big event, next year’s total eclipse will be even bigger. The city expects more than 50,000 visitors to flock to our town for the spectacle. Book your viewing spots now!

For more information on eclipses and how to view them, check out NASA’s eclipse page at solarsystem.nasa.gov/eclipses. To find your perfect eclipse-watching spot, use the interactive map at timeanddate.com/eclipse/map/2023-october-14. For local information about the 2023 annular eclipse and the 2024 total eclipse, go to the city’s information page at ci.boerne.tx.us/2253/Boerne-Eclipse.

"Take the day off. Take the kids out of school. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for most people… and it is one of the grandest sights in all of nature. It's something you'll always remember, and you'll pass stories of it onto your grandchildren." - Fred Espenak, Astrophysicist

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