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Live eclipse updates: Totality passes over the Austin area

Published April 8, 2024 at 5:30 AM CDT
People look up wearing eclipse-viewing glasses
Deborah Cannon
KUT News
Crowds gather to watch the total solar eclipse on the UT Austin campus Monday.

Today's the day, folks! Approximately eight hours from now, the Austin area will plunge into complete darkness as the moon travels between the Earth and the sun for the much anticipated total solar eclipse.

Clouds or no clouds, it will still be an experience.

We're going to be here all day bringing you what you need to know, including traffic updates, last-minute places to get glasses, how you all are celebrating and NASA's official live stream of totality. KUT will also be broadcasting live on 90.5 from 12-2 p.m.

Get your solar viewers ready and stick with us for this once-in-a-lifetime event!

Mark your calendars for 2343!

Posted April 8, 2024 at 4:31 PM CDT
Clouds in the sky as the moon passes the sun.
Julius Shieh
KUT News
Hundreds flocked to Pease Park to witness the total solar eclipse.

Our long eclipse journey is over. Here's hoping the clouds parted for you during totality or at least at some point during the eclipse.

The next total solar eclipse in Austin will be on Feb. 25, 2343, according to the City of Austin.

You won't have to wait nearly as long for the next total solar eclipse in the state, though. On Aug. 12, 2045, a small portion of the Texas Panhandle will experience totality, along with a huge swath of the country during a rare coast-to-coast eclipse.

Totality during the 2045 eclipse will have an unusually long duration, getting up to a little over 6 minutes of full darkness.

See you in the Panhandle!

Don't forget to recycle your eclipse glasses

Posted April 8, 2024 at 4:01 PM CDT
A couple takes a selfie with a large pair of mock eclipse glasses on April 7, 2024, in Kerrville.
Michael Minasi
KUT News
A couple takes a selfie with a large pair of mock eclipse glasses on Sunday in Kerrville.

Austin is collecting used eclipse glasses from today's eclipse. You might have already seen the recycling bins across the city at viewing events in parks, on the UT Austin campus and at schools. You can drop your solar glasses in designated boxes.

Bins will also be placed at all Austin Parks and Recreation facilities, including senior centers and cultural facilities, and Austin Public Library locations through April 26.

Jessica Gilzow, nature programs manager for the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, said the glasses will be shipped to the Astronomers Without Borders program, which will repurpose them for future eclipse viewing across the globe.

This is the second time Astronomers Without Borders has collected glasses. After the 2017 total solar eclipse, the group collected more than 3 million glasses from 1,000 sites in the eclipse's path. The nonprofit is hoping to recreate that success.

Gilzow says the recycle bins will be clearly marked at each location. Glasses can also be dropped off at the Austin Nature and Science Center.

Sudden darkness — then light — confuses animals at rescue ranch in Leander

Posted April 8, 2024 at 3:43 PM CDT
A black and white pot-bellied pig asleep on the grass.
Kailey Hunt
KUT News
Peter the pot-bellied pig slept through the entire eclipse at Safe at Home, an animal rescue ranch in Leander.

All eyes and ears were on animals at Safe in Austin, a 10-acre animal rescue ranch in Leander, as the area plunged into darkness for nearly 4 minutes.

David Griner, one of the co-owners and operators of the ranch, rushed to the enclosure where the chickens and turkeys live to see if they would go into their coops and put themselves to bed like they do every night when the sun goes down.

He found the birds huddled together in the center of their enclosure, frozen in what seemed like confusion at the sudden darkness. As the seconds passed, the birds slowly appeared to shake their reverie and make their way toward their coops. But then, just as quickly as the darkness appeared, light returned, and the roosters began to crow and flap their wings — just as they do every morning, Griner said.

Other animals, including Elsa, a miniature horse, appeared to show some signs of anxiety.

Peter the pot-bellied pig did not appear to notice the eclipse at all — he napped through the whole event.

Reilly Elementary students learn while watching the eclipse

Posted April 8, 2024 at 3:18 PM CDT
Students at Reilly Elementary don eclipse-viewing glasses for the celestial event at their school on Monday.
Becky Fogel
KUT News
Students at Reilly Elementary don eclipse-viewing glasses for the celestial event at their school on Monday.

Reilly Elementary partnered with Austin PBS and the Thinkery to offer activities to students and their families during the eclipse.

“There’s a telescope station, a binocular station, an eclipse journal station and a light-sound machine station,” principal Leyla Olano said.

She added she was happy schools remained open for the eclipse.

“Having schools open provided us the opportunity to partner with our community to be able to provide this wonderful experience for our kids, our teachers and our parents and caregivers,” she said.

Teacher Bianca Meyer was glad to spend this once-in-a-lifetime event with her students.

“I would not have it any other way. This is perfect,” she said. “I love being here and I love spending it with them.”

Students at Reilly said they were excited to be on campus for the eclipse.

“I also think it’s good for education because we get to learn about it while we get to see it happen,” George, a second-grader, said. “I think that really teaches us how it happens and how a solar eclipse works and what effects it has.”

The students at Reilly attached their solar glasses to decorated paper plates.
Becky Fogel
KUT News
The students at Reilly attached their solar glasses to decorated paper plates.

As totality approached, students, teachers, school staff and parent volunteers began to fill up the grass field behind the brick school building. Students donned solar eclipse glasses, some of which were placed in the middle of paper plates the kids had decorated. When the sun peeked out from behind the clouds, cheers rang out. The sound of excited children punctuated the darkness.

Students Jason and Elina said they were disappointed it was cloudy, but they still had a great time.

“I thought it was amazing, but I hated that the weather decided just to put clouds,” Jason said.

Jason, who is in fifth grade, said the next total solar eclipse is going to happen when he’s 31.

“I’m going to have wrinkles!” he said, aghast.

Despite the clouds, Elina looked on the bright side.

“It was a gift because we [were] able to see it,” she said.

Photo and video: Here's what totality looked like in Central Texas

Posted April 8, 2024 at 2:10 PM CDT
A solar eclipse during totality. A ring of white light with pink accents are visible around a dark black circle.
Michael Minasi
KUT News

Totality just happened in the Austin area, and for about two minutes, the city was engulfed in darkness.

KUT staff reported that street lights turned on, bees stopped buzzing and crickets started chirping. People cheered and watched in awe. KUT's Michael Minasi got the above shot of totality in Kerrville, one of the prime viewing spots for the eclipse in Texas.

Take a look at how Austinites reacted to totality:

Did the clouds open up for you in the Austin area? Tag @kut_austin on Instagram or @KUT on X (formerly known as Twitter) with your photos and video! Let us know what it was like.

Not seeing the video? Try refreshing the page.

How will the eclipse affect solar energy in Texas?

Posted April 8, 2024 at 1:15 PM CDT

Texas will lose more solar power generation than any other state as the eclipse briefly plunges us into darkness, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Even in parts of Texas outside the path of totality, it will get much darker. That’s why the E.I.A. estimates an 80 to 99% drop in utility-scale solar capacity throughout the state.

Homes and businesses with solar panels will also see a drop in generation and may need to pull added energy from the grid for that reason.

But, experts say, the state’s power grid should be fine.

Dr. Thomas Overbye, director of Texas A&M’s Smart Grid Center, says other electricity generators will be on hand to pick up the slack.

Overbye believes battery storage systems could cover 20% of the solar shortfall, with the rest being covered by natural gas, nuclear and wind power.

While complete darkness in the path of totality will last only up to four minutes in some places. The sun will be partially obscured by the moon for a couple of hours Monday afternoon, reducing solar energy production.

The eclipse might freak out your pets

Posted April 8, 2024 at 1:01 PM CDT

We modern humans know this solar eclipse is coming. But our animal friends won’t be as prepared.

When faced with sudden darkness in the middle of the day, animals may become confused, think it’s nighttime or even become stressed.

“The shadows get sharp, the birds start going to roost, the crickets start chirping, the dogs lay down,” Patricia Reiff, a self-proclaimed “eclipse junkie” and Rice University professor, told Houston Public Media.

Total solar eclipses also offer a unique opportunity for those who study animal behavior, something teams will be doing all over the state today.

Iff you’ll be spending today’s eclipse viewing with pets — or even just watching animals in your backyard — you can share observations with the Solar Eclipse Safari project.

More on the work scientists are doing in Texas around animal behavior during the eclipse:

You can read more about how people all over Texas are celebrating the eclipse at KERA.

Photo: A look at the start of the eclipse in Kerrville

Posted April 8, 2024 at 12:57 PM CDT
The sun being partially obscured by the moon during the eclipse.
Michael Minasi
KUT News

KUT News has photographers around Austin and in the Hill Country taking in the eclipse. Here's a first look at the eclipse in Kerrville, one of the prime viewing spots in Texas. The small city will experience about 4 minutes and 24 seconds of totality.

"Immediately all around me there were gasps of awe," said KUT photographer Michael Minasi, who captured this photo. "I saw a partial eclipse while walking into Austin City Limits and that was cool, but I’ve never seen it up close through a camera like I just did. Fingers crossed this partly cloudy weather holds until totality!"

Will streetlights turn on during the eclipse?

Posted April 8, 2024 at 12:46 PM CDT

Austin has about 68,000 streetlights maintained by Austin Energy. They sense darkness and turn on automatically. Half the streetlights are LEDs, so they'll reach full illumination instantly. The other half are high-pressure sodium lights, which take about two minutes to warm up to full brightness.

What remains unclear is how dark it will have to be before the light sensors turn on the streetlights. Changes in ambient lighting won't be noticeable until about 15 minutes before the sun is completely blocked by the moon, according to NASA. So the onset of darkness is faster than during a sunset. City and state transportation officials are telling people to keep their headlights on while driving, just in case.

What's the best eclipse food you've seen or you're making?

Posted April 8, 2024 at 12:25 PM CDT
A round cake with chocolate icing and a white chocolate drizzle sits on a wooden platter. The cake has colorful gold and orange sprinkles on top to mimic totality during a total solar eclipse.
Chelsey Zhu
KUT News
KUT's Chelsey Zhu made this dark chocolate eclipse cake to celebrate Monday's celestial event.

Nothing says festive during a total solar eclipse more than a themed snack. Whether you're making moon pies or you come across a special at a local business, we'd love to hear about (and see!) it. Fill out the form below, and we may share your story and photos on

Eclipse festival canceled due to severe weather risk

Posted April 8, 2024 at 11:58 AM CDT

A music festival at Reveille Peak Ranch in Burnet County has ended early due to weather concerns.

On its Facebook page, the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office shared a notice it received from the organizers of the Texas Eclipse Festival encouraging festival-goers to leave early due to the chance of “high winds, tornadic activity, large hail and thunderstorms.”

Organizers said guests would be allowed to stay to watch the eclipse if they were packed up and prepared to leave immediately after totality.

The festival was originally planned to last from April 5-9, but performances for the remainder of Monday and Tuesday have been canceled.

The sheriff’s office said it expects a surge of traffic during the morning and early afternoon due to the festival’s early cancellation.

Here's how to build your own solar eclipse viewer

Posted April 8, 2024 at 11:36 AM CDT

While you do need glasses to stare up at the sky and see the eclipse, that's not the only way to view it. KUT's Jerry Quijano has step-by-step instructions on how to build your own solar eclipse viewer.

Grab these materials and then join us in preparation for this celestial event.


  • Cardboard box
  • Sheet of white paper
  • Tape
  • Aluminum foil
  • Scissors or knife
  • Sharp pin to create a hole

Is it safe to look right at the eclipse?

Posted April 8, 2024 at 11:03 AM CDT

For the most part, the answer is: Not with your naked eyes! The one exception is during totality — within that small window, you can run wild.

Otherwise, you'll need special solar glasses to look at the sun. Here are a few local places you can get them:

  • Austin public libraries (free)
  • Austin recreation centers (free)
  • Austin Visitor Center
  • H-E-B

They might run out quickly, so double check that they're still in stock before you head out.

Where should I go in Austin to see this thing?

Posted April 8, 2024 at 10:20 AM CDT

If you're in the area of totality, you should probably stay put, or try your best not to travel too far. There's a good chance that traffic will be gnarly as tens of thousands of tourists from all over the country descend on Austin and the Hill Country to see the eclipse.

What's the big deal with this eclipse?

Posted April 8, 2024 at 9:47 AM CDT

You probably remember there was another eclipse in October. But that was a partial eclipse. On Monday, the moon will completely block out the sun for about 1 minute and 40 seconds within Austin city limits during what's known as "totality."

Cool stuff happens. The sky will dim like it's dawn or dusk, the air will get colder, and you might see stars and planets that are usually invisible in daylight. But totality isn't happening everywhere in Austin. You can only see it west of this line around 1:36 p.m.:

A map showing the area where totality will be experienced.

When is the solar eclipse in Austin?

Posted April 8, 2024 at 8:55 AM CDT

The eclipse will start at about 12:17 p.m., peak at 1:36 p.m. and end right before 3 p.m.

Here's a map you can click on to figure out the timing in your exact location. (Heads-up that it's showing Universal Time!)

What's the eclipse day forecast?

Posted April 8, 2024 at 8:21 AM CDT

It's eclipse day and the morning sky over Austin is overcast. Will it stay that way? The National Weather Service says the forecast remains mostly cloudy during the eclipse, with a chance of thunderstorms into the evening in Burnet, Llano and Williamson counties.

For the Austin area, the NWS said on Sunday that there may be a few breaks in the lower-level clouds during eclipse time, giving us a chance to see part of the eclipse. But there would still be clouds higher up that would allow only a limited view, according to Jason Runyen, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Austin/San Antonio.

The Weather Service forecast shows a higher chance of severe storms on Tuesday. If you've got a flight out of Austin Tuesday, this is something you'll want to keep an eye on.

A National Weather Service graphic shows sample photos of the types of clouds we may experience on eclipse day, ranging from translucent high clouds to opaque high clouds or opaque low clouds.
National Weather Service
The National Weather Service says these are the different possibilities for cloud cover we'll see at eclipse time.