Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Central Texas has some of the best seats in the country for the once-in-a-lifetime total solar eclipse April 8.

What time is the solar eclipse in Austin? Plus, where to find glasses and viewing spots.

Two people watch the partial solar eclipse from Zilker Park during ACL Festival on Oct. 14, 2023.
Renee Dominguez
KUT News
Do you have your eclipse glasses ready? Don't wait too long. You'll need solar viewers to safely watch the event — unless you want to burn your eyeballs.

Lee esta historia en español

Monday afternoon, millions of Texans will look up at the sky together and watch a once-in-a-lifetime celestial event. Temperatures will drop, animals will behave strangely and day will briefly turn into night as the sun’s rays are blocked by the moon.

The April total solar eclipse, the first of its kind to cross Texas since the late 1800s, is expected to bring parts of the Lone Star State and the country to a standstill. We’re gathering answers to your most commonly asked questions about the eclipse on this page, and we’ll keep adding to it as we get closer to the big day.

If you have a question that we haven’t answered, ask us here. Or, if you have advice based on your past solar eclipse watching, please share it with us here. If you’re from Central Texas and have traveled to see solar eclipses before, we’d like to interview you!

Let’s start with the most basic questions first.

When and what time is the solar eclipse?

The eclipse is happening on Monday, April 8. In the Austin area, the eclipse will start at about 12:17 p.m., peak at 1:36 p.m. and end right before 3 p.m. In other parts of the state, the difference in timing will be a matter of minutes.

Will I be able to see the eclipse from my house?

An up-close image of a total solar eclipse, showing the sun completely blocked out by the moon surrounded by a glowing corona.
Aubrey Gemignani
This is what a solar eclipse looks like at the moment of totality. Pretty neat, huh?

If you’re in Austin, probably! If you live inside city limits, chances are you won’t have to travel more than a few feet outside your front door to experience the best of the eclipse. (A reminder that you’ll need to wear solar eclipse glasses to safely watch the event; more on that later.)

There are really two answers to this question depending on what kind of eclipse you want to see. All of Texas will see at least a partial solar eclipse. But only a narrow path of the state, including the cities of Austin, Waco and Dallas, will get to experience “totality” — the magical moment when the moon completely blocks out the sun.

The path of totality, the 120-mile-wide zone drawing people from all over the world, will move in a southwest to northeast direction. Totality will start on the Pacific coast in Mexico, move across Texas and then continue through the United States into eastern Canada. Here's a helpful animation from the Great American Eclipse's YouTube page:

Downtown Austin is in the path, but Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is not. Wimberley, Dripping Springs, Round Rock and Georgetown are in the path, but Bastrop, Kyle and San Marcos are not. The northwestern corners of some cities, like Buda, Manor and San Antonio, will get to experience totality. The good news for people in Central Texas but outside the path of totality is that you won’t have to travel far to get inside the zone.

Even if you’re not able to make it to the parts of Texas experiencing totality, you’ll still get to experience most of the eclipse. In Houston, for example, about 94% of the sun will be obscured by the moon. Visit to enter your hometown and see what the eclipse will look like where you live.

What even is a total solar eclipse?

Let's back up a little. This kind of eclipse happens when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun. The shadow of the moon on Earth will cause the sky to darken, resembling dawn or dusk. While the sky will darken to some extent throughout Texas, only areas in the path of totality will experience the darkest of conditions.

Here’s an “explain it like I’m five years old” version, courtesy of NASA:

You may have watched the annular solar eclipse this past October. Because the moon was farther away than it will be in April, it did not completely block out the sun.

Where should I go if I can’t experience totality from my house?

The closer to your home, the better. Why? The state’s highways and rural, two-lane roads in the path of totality will be overrun with eclipse-watchers. About 12 million Texans are in the path of totality, more than any other state. That doesn’t factor in the large number of visitors surging into Texas to take advantage of some of the best April weather in the country to view a solar eclipse. estimates anywhere from 180,000 to 720,000 people will travel to Texas to see the eclipse.

If you’re an eclipse aficionado, however, you may want to go the extra mile and get to a prime viewing spot. That leads us to the next commonly asked question:

Where are the best places to see the eclipse?

If you define “best” as the longest time under totality, then Texas is a great place to be. The areas around the border town of Eagle Pass will provide the longest possible amount of totality in the United States, coming in at 4 minutes and 27 seconds long. But that’s only a few seconds longer than in towns throughout the Texas Hill Country, much closer to Austin.

Kerrville, Fredericksburg, Lake Buchanan and Lampasas will all experience about 4 minutes and 23 seconds of totality. That’s compared to about 1 minute 40 seconds inside Austin city limits. As you head west from Austin, the amount of totality you’ll experience will go up. has a helpful map for scrolling through the path of totality in Central Texas.

Where can I buy eclipse glasses?

Lots of places. Do you have an Amazon Prime account? Ship them to your house. Other websites like the Great American Eclipse and Eclipse2024 are also selling glasses. Don’t wait until the last second to buy solar eclipse viewers. Ordinary sunglasses will not protect you from eye damage during an eclipse.

H-E-B and hardware stores are selling solar glasses. If you’ve had luck finding glasses in certain stores in the Austin area, let us know here. NASA has a helpful guide on how to make sure your eclipse glasses are safe to use and how to use them properly during the eclipse.

When can I safely take off my glasses during the eclipse?

If you’re in the path of totality, it’s only during the few minutes when the moon is completely blocking the sun that it’s safe to look up without your solar glasses on. You’ll be able to clearly see the corona of the sun, a glowing light surrounding the darkened sun.

If you’re not in the path of totality, you’ll need to keep your solar viewers on for the entire eclipse.

Still not sure what totality will look like? This video of the 2017 solar eclipse in Oregon will give you a good idea of how dark it gets during totality and when it’s safe to take your glasses off.

Do you have unanswered eclipse questions? Do you have pieces of advice from previous eclipse experiences? Share them with us in the form below or by clicking here.


Andy Jechow is the audience engagement editor for KUT News. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter at @AndyJechow.
Related Content