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Eclipse Over Texas: Live From Waco To Celebrate April 8, 2024 Total Solar Eclipse
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Apr 08, 2022

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A total solar eclipse will take place on April 8, 2024 and Texas is an ideal location for viewing this rare celestial display. Lowell Observatory is teaming with the City of Waco, Baylor University, and Discovery on a public event, Eclipse Over Texas 2024. This will include an onsite celebration at Baylor University's McLane Stadium in Waco, as well as virtual programming that people around the world may view.

"If you missed experiencing totality during the 2017 Great American Eclipse, you have another chance in 2024 to see for yourself the silvery filaments of the solar corona emanating from the velvet hole in the sky that is left when the Moon fully eclipses the Sun," said Dr. Danielle Adams, Chief Marketing and Revenue Officer at Lowell Observatory.

Eclipse Over Texas: Live from Waco will consist of presentations by astronomers and science educators, interactive activities, and safe telescope viewing of the Sun as it progresses through the eclipse. The partial phase of the solar eclipse will begin at 12:20 pm CDT, as seen from Waco, Texas. The Sun's surface will gradually be covered until totality begins at 1:38 pm CDT. This will last for four minutes and 13 seconds, after which the Sun will begin its gradual move out of the Moon's shadow, ending at 2 pm CDT.

Discovery will broadcast the event on their linear and digital networks. "There is nothing like the collective experience of a moment like this to bring the world together. It's important to document these times to capture the feeling for years to come," said Scott Lewers, Executive Vice President of Multiplatform Programming, Factual and Head of Content, Science. "Discovery is excited to collaborate with Lowell Observatory, the City of Waco, and Baylor University to bring this moment in time to people around the world."

Waco sits very close to the middle of the path of totality. This, combined with historically excellent weather in April, as well as easy accessibility, makes Waco an ideal location for an eclipse event. "The City of Waco looks forward to welcoming our residents and visitors in joining us in experiencing the 2024 total solar eclipse," said Dillon Meek, Mayor of the City of Waco. "Waco offers numerous amenities and activities, and we encourage those participating in this historic event to make it a long weekend and enjoy all that Waco has to offer."

Eclipse Over Texas: Live from Waco activities will take place on the South Plaza and Touchdown Alley areas of Baylor University's McLane Stadium, which is located on the banks of the Brazos River. Here, event participants will enjoy an unobstructed view of the Sun in the sky.

Members of Baylor University's Department of Physics will share this experience with local and international communities by hosting teacher training workshops and a scientific conference leading up to the April 8, 2024, event. Dr. Barbara Castanheira-Endl, Baylor Senior Lecturer of Physics, notes, "As a professional astronomer, I find that looking at stars through world-class telescopes can't approach the visceral experience of gazing at our Sun as it is eclipsed by the Moon."

Lowell Observatory astronomers have long studied the Sun, and observatory scientists and educators hosted a similar event in Oregon for the 2017 total solar eclipse. Lowell Observatory Director Dr. Jeffrey Hall, himself a solar astronomer, said, "A total solar eclipse is an amazing-even life-changing-experience for anyone who witnesses it, and part of Lowell's mission is to communicate the excitement and wonder of events like this to everyone." He continued, "We are very pleased to be collaborating with the City of Waco, Baylor University, and Discovery to enhance everyone's enjoyment of this spectacular event."

Background on Solar Eclipses
We can see total solar eclipses thanks to two phenomena: the orbital motions of the Earth and the Moon, and a cosmic coincidence that renders the Sun and Moon to appear similar in size as seen from Earth.

Solar eclipses can only happen during the new phase of the Moon, when the Moon lines up between Earth and the Sun. If the three bodies are not quite aligned, then the Moon may block part of the Sun in what is called a partial solar eclipse. If the three are perfectly aligned, then the Moon can completely cover the Sun, creating a total solar eclipse. However, because the distance between the Moon and Earth varies, the Moon will sometimes appear a little larger or smaller than its average size. Occasionally, even when the three bodies are perfectly aligned, the smaller-than-usual Moon won't completely block the Sun, leaving a ring, or annulus, of the Sun showing. This is known as an annular eclipse.

There is more to the story, and in order to understand it, a look at one of space's curiosities is necessary. The Sun has a diameter about 400 times greater than that of the Moon, but it also happens to be 400 times further from Earth than the Moon. This means that the two bodies, as seen from Earth, appear to be about the same size. If the Moon was farther away from Earth, then it would appear smaller and could never completely cover the Sun. In that case, total solar eclipses wouldn't be visible from Earth; the best we could hope for would be annular ones. This will eventually become the case; with the Moon moving away from Earth at a rate of 1.5 inches per year (about the same rate that our fingernails grow), in several hundred million years it will be too small to completely block the Sun.

On average, total solar eclipses occur once every 18 months. But the path from which such events are visible is narrow and varies with each eclipse, so total solar eclipses cross the same geographical area on Earth only about once every 375 years. This will be the last total solar eclipse visible from anywhere in the continental United States until August 23, 2044, and the last one visible from a large swath like the 2024 eclipse until August 12, 2045. The 2024 total solar eclipse will also be the first one visible from Waco since July 29, 1878, and the last one of this millennium-the next total solar eclipse that will be visible from Waco won't occur until after the year 3000.

Related Links
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Black swifts descended rapidly during lunar eclipse
Washington DC (SPX) Mar 18, 2022
An international research team led by Lund University in Sweden has managed to study the flight behaviour of the mysterious black swift. They found, among other things, that the black swift rises to extreme heights during a full moon, seemingly catching insects in the moonlight. And, during a lunar eclipse, the birds simultaneously lost altitude. The results are published in Current Biology. The black swift is a bird species with a bulky body and long, pointed wings. The plumage is black with some ... read more

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