ANNULAR SOLAR ECLIPSE
October 14, 2023 | Time of Partiality: 11:52 AM
On October 14th, 2023, many people in North America will experience an annular solar eclipse. This is different from a total solar eclipse because the Moon is too far away from the Earth at this time to cover the entirety of the Sun. This results in the edges of the Sun encircling our Moon creating what astronomers call the “ring of fire.”
Unfortunately, Fort Worth is not in the path of this ring of fire. Instead, we will only see a partial solar eclipse, where the Moon only partially covers the Sun. Despite this, Fort Worth will see a whopping 87 percent coverage!
October 14, 2023 | 9 AM - 4 PM
Celebrate the Annular Solar Eclipse at the museum! Join us for eclipse activities, space science, and more! Purchase tickets at the link below.
TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE
April 8, 2024 | Time of Totality: 1:41 PM
The 2023 annular eclipse is truly exciting, but on April 8th, 2024, we will experience the real deal. The people of Fort Worth will witness in full a total solar eclipse! This means that we are in the path of totality. Totality is the point of the eclipse where the Moon fully covers the Sun. When this happens, not only will we see an ominous black shadow in the sky where our Sun used to reside, but also something truly rare to the human eye: the Sun’s corona, the outer atmosphere of our star. Be sure to savor this moment to the fullest because our totality will only last for about two and a half minutes before the blazing Texas Sun makes its reappearance.
What is a Solar Eclipse?
A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon crosses directly between the Earth and the Sun, blocking some or all of the Sun’s light. Although you may not have seen many solar eclipses in the past, they are anything but rare. Solar eclipses happen on Earth two to five times a year, and total solar eclipses happen on average every 18 months. So, if total solar eclipses are not so rare, why has Fort Worth not seen one since July 29th, 1878? This is because total solar eclipses only recur in one given place within the span of 360 to 410 years. Fort Worth just happens to be in the intersecting paths of its previous and next total solar eclipses!
How Can I Safely View a Solar Eclipse?
A solar eclipse is truly a once-in-a-lifetime event. Everyone will be staring up in the sky at the same object. Unfortunately, this object is our Sun, and staring at it with our naked eye, even just for a little bit, can cause significant damage to our retinas. These same rules apply for a solar eclipse. Except for the period of totality, it is NEVER safe to look at an eclipse with the naked eye.
However, there are safe and effective ways to view the Sun and its eclipse. Paper solar eclipse glasses and solar filters are great ways to observe an eclipse safely. You can also build your own pinhole Sun viewer with just a cardboard box, aluminum foil, and a sheet of white paper. Even a simple household colander can be used to project many tiny crescent Suns onto a surface. Another technique is to use both hands to cross your fingers over each other (like a waffle), and you will see eclipse shaped shadows on the ground. You can also see this effect under trees that have many overlapping leaves.