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San Antonio astronomers are in planning mode for an event in another three years. This is because it will be centuries before the city experiences this kind of astronomical event again.

The town of Alamo will see two eclipse events – an annular eclipse on October 14, 2023 and a total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024. The six-month succession makes this a rare occasion, but that’s not the incentive to both astronomers and astrologers to look to the future.

The northwest side of San Antonio and surrounding Hill Country towns such as Boerne and Fredericksburg lie on the path of the 115-mile-wide total solar eclipse traversing Mexico to Texas and into Maine in three. years. Other cities in Texas, such as Austin and Dallas, will also experience the event.

However, Angela Speck and Chris Packham, both professors in the University of Texas Department of Astronomy in the San Antonio Department of Astronomy, tell MySA that being closer to the US-Mexico border will provide a more unobstructed view. . They describe it as a “once in a lifetime” event for the city.

The San Antonians will experience a sky “as dark as a night of a full moon” for four minutes and 24 seconds, according to Speck. It will be 13:32

Speck was teaching at the University of Missouri and was co-chair of the National Total Solar Eclipse Task Force during the “Great American Eclipse” of 2017. His friends joke that his move to San Antonio two years ago was something to do with the upcoming eclipse. She denies it, but says it’s time to “get serious” about planning for 2024.

She says the local scientific community and museums are in informal discussions about preparing for the eclipse. She hopes to incorporate the event into some of her UTSA teachings while also suggesting that local school districts make plans to highlight the eclipse in the curriculum or work with other campuses to provide areas for learning. observation in the northern parts of the city.

Speck is confident that the UTSA area will be plunged into total darkness. Downtown San Antonio will miss the darkness “by a few blocks,” she said.

Geographer Michael Zeiler, who provides the graphics for the Great American Eclipse website, shared these maps of the trajectory of the April 8, 2024 total solar eclipse. The graphics show the precise movement of the eclipse through the city.

Courtesy of

In 2017, the San Antonians got special glasses for the eclipse and maybe gave up an hour of work to get to a place to witness the eclipse. While interesting, it was only a partial experience that left residents feeling like they had missed the videos and images that were posted on social media from the maximum point in Missouri.

Speck says residents will finally have their time in the dark in 2024. She describes it as an experience that activates all of your senses. Other living things respond as well.

“You can see the stars, the planets. It’s also colder, because you just blocked the sun,” she adds. “The animals react too and so do the plants, so the bees will stop buzzing, the cows will come home to the barn. It’s a really interesting thing, it’s something you feel not just with your eyes. are all kinds of sensors. “

Speck says the event turns the unfazed into the passionate.

“If you’ve never seen one, it’s like, ‘Oh, yeah, what’s the problem,’ she adds. “It’s a completely amazing event and most people who have seen them once, still see them.”

She says it will be centuries before something like this happens again in the city and that this is the first time in hundreds of years that the city of Alamo has been on the way. According to, which provides maps and times of total solar eclipses, the last time the city was near a total solar eclipse path was May 28, 1900 and even at that it was a partial experience. .

If locals become completely mystified by the 2024 event, they may witness it two years later, but will have to fly to Spain or Greenland in time for August 12, 2026.

Packham researched the next US total eclipse experience while Speck and I chatted. His search lasted a few minutes. Finally, he found the date: August 22, 2044. Viewers will have to be near Montana for that one.

As the UTSA team strives to add the eclipse event to their education, Cleveland-based astrologer Catherine Urban examines how the alignment of these celestial objects will affect people and play a role. role in history books.

It is linked to historical events, such as World War I and the abolition of slavery, coinciding with periods of total solar eclipses in the past. She also notes that the 2017 total solar eclipse occurred at a “remarkably divisive time in this country.”

Urban adds another layer: the eclipse occurs shortly after Pluto’s planetary return to the United States after 240 years (using July 4, 1776 as America’s birth date).

“Considering that these eclipses occur following Pluto’s return to the United States, astrologers suspect that these eclipses also reflect a very turbulent period in American history,” she adds.

Astronomers and the astrologer are on the same page about the same thing – the San Antonio area will be a travel destination in April and it will have nothing to do with Fiesta.

“However, the total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024 will be one of the most miraculous events one can witness,” Urban said via email. “Witnessing a total solar eclipse is sublime depth. Definitely have your glasses ready for viewing! And consider staying the week with a friend and AirBnB-ing in your home. Total solar eclipses will attract visitors from surroundings. Where will you be when the lights go out? “

Speck agrees. She says another added benefit of being in the San Antonio area is the weather. Northerners could see their experience marred by the cloud cover. As someone who has traveled to Argentina to witness a total solar eclipse, she knows a thing or two about eclipse tourism.

“The weather is going to be very uncertain as you go further north along the way. So San Antonio and South Texas will be the best place from a cloud cover standpoint,” she said. “So we’re going to attract a lot of people to Texas, because we spend the most time in the dark in the United States, and we also have the best chance of having no clouds.”

Just like in 2017, websites and memorabilia are already popping up, adding to the hype surrounding the 2024 eclipse. There are T-shirts, binoculars and of course glasses, to promote the event of a lifetime. .

Geographer Michael Zeiler, who provides the graphics for the Great American Eclipse website, sums up the appeal the rest of the world will have for our part of the country.

“Texas will surely be a magnet for a lot of North America and the world,” he says.

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