A rare event comes this way August 21 in a partial solar eclipse—and it shouldn’t be missed, according Dr. David Baker, Austin College professor of physics. While solar eclipses do happen once or twice a year, he explained that they pass through a narrow path on the Earth and are visible to only a small fraction of the planet’s population at a given time. The next time a partial solar eclipse happens in north Texas will be 2023. In 2024, the Bells and Bonham area, just to the east of Sherman, will experience a total eclipse.
In a solar eclipse, the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun. On August 21, the partial eclipse begins in the region at 11:40 a.m. and ends at 2:38 p.m. “We are fortunate that we will be able to see an 80 percent eclipse August 21,” he said. “Luckily for us, the maximum eclipse here should occur at 1:09 p.m. Since the Sun will be high in the sky, we will be able to see the eclipse from almost anywhere in the region.”
In an instance of partial eclipse, the sky is growing dimmer throughout the eclipse, but happens so gradually that it is not noticeable, as people’s eyes adjust automatically. Baker cautioned that individuals should never look directly at the Sun as it can cause permanent damage to the eyes. This applies to the eclipse as well. Normal sun glasses are not good enough, but there are safe ways to view the eclipse using special solar eclipse glasses or welders’ glass #14. He encouraged getting the equipment and taking the chance to see the eclipse.
An eclipse is a rare event and a wonderful coincidence, Baker said. “An eclipse requires the alignment of the Earth, Sun, and Moon,” he said. “No other place in the Solar System has a total solar eclipse where the Moon exactly covers the Sun—it’s a perfect fit.”