The solar eclipse on Monday, August 21, won't treat Dallas-Fort Worth viewers to the same dramatic exposure they'll enjoy in places like Kentucky (where the eclipse will peak), but even a partial eclipse is welcome, if for no other reason than it provides an official reason to take three hours off (11 am-2 pm) in the middle of a work day.
This is the first total solar eclipse to cross a large portion of the United States in almost 100 years, according to the NASA website. To get the full view, you need to be on The Path Of Totality. That's not us. Paducah, Kentucky, is going to get it good. We'll see only a partial, 75 percent eclipse.
But there'll be other thrills (like this fun simulator). Forecasts say the sky will go dark. There will be an orange glow at the horizon. Temperatures may drop by as much as 12 to 15 degrees. For us, that'll be a chilly 87. Automatic lights and street lights could come on, and night-time birds and insects may rise up in the darkness and emerge.
If you're going to try and look at the thing, you need special glasses with solar filters, most of which are sold out locally, says the Fort Worth Star Telegram. Counterfeits are flooding the market, so buyer beware: "The sun burns the cells in your eyes without your feeling pain, and you won't know it happened until you start losing your eyesight." That hurts even to read.
Favorite places for eclipse watching include community centers, museums, observatories, parks, or open fields. But NASA says your own backyard is good, too.
Where to see it
These Dallas and Fort Worth parks are hosting watch events, some starting at 11 am:
- White Rock Lake at Winfrey Point in Dallas, 11 am-2 pm
- Bachman Lake at the Pavilion in Dallas, 11 am-2 pm
- Kiest Park at the Pavilion in Dallas, 11 am-2 pm
- The plaza at Sundance Square in Fort Worth, 12:30-2:30 pm
Three area museums will also be hosting viewing parties:
- The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History
- The Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas
- The Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas
If you use Lyft to attend museum events, they'll give 21 percent off a ride, up to $5; use the promo code ECLIPSEDFW.
Astronomy magazine has a fun countdown widget telling when it begins, and a drawing that lets you slide a moon across the sun. The maximum eclipse effect will be seen in DFW at about 1:10 pm.
Too bad we're not all aboard this Royal Caribbean Total Eclipse Cruise, where Welsh songstress Bonnie Tyler will sing her 1983 hit "Total Eclipse of the Heart," just as the moon crosses the sun.
If you miss it entirely, there's a cool Eclipse Megamovie Project from Google and the University of California at Berkeley that will gather images from over 1,000 photographers and astronomers from across the United States, which they'll stitch together to create a movie we can watch after it's all done.