Rare ‘ring of fire’ eclipse will be visible in Arlington

UTA to host a ‘Sun Block Party’ in the Planetarium Mall area to view eclipse

Wednesday, Oct 04, 2023 • Katherine Egan Bennett : contact

Image of partial eclipse rendered by McKenna Dowd of UTA Planetarium, using E&S Digistar7 software.

The University of Texas at Arlington Planetarium will play host to a Sun Block Party on Oct. 14 to view a “ring of fire” solar eclipse that will be visible throughout Texas.

For those on the annularity path, the moon will appear to briefly cross in front of the sun to block out about 90% of the sunlight. The north part of Texas is not directly in the annularity path, so residents will see this as a partial solar eclipse.

Around UTA and the Arlington area, the eclipse will begin at 10:23 a.m. and last until just after 1:30 p.m., said Levent Gurdemir, UTA Planetarium director. The moon will appear to block out the largest area of the sun at 11:54 a.m., he added.

The annularity—when only the edges of the sun are visible around the moon, creating a “ring of fire” appearance—will start around 11:41 a.m. and will be visible in the Midland-Odessa and San Antonio areas for between four and five minutes. In Texas, the best viewing will be in Corpus Christi, which will see the annularity for an estimated five minutes and two seconds.

Gurdemir said viewers should take extreme precautions when viewing the eclipse to avoid eye damage.

“Everyone must look through safe, high-quality solar viewing glasses with high-quality solar filters,” he said. “Looking at the sun directly, even during the maximum eclipse, is extremely dangerous and may result in permanent eye damage. Sunglasses, fogged glass and tinted windows are not safe ways to watch eclipses. Never use a telescope, binocular, camera lens or similar optical device to look at the sun.

“Permanent eye damage will be immediate and irreversible. The eye retina doesn’t have pain receptors, and therefore one wouldn’t feel it when the extreme light from the sun is burning the retina.”

This event is a warm-up act to the main event: a total eclipse that will occur in DFW on April 8, 2024.

“For that eclipse, Arlington and the rest of the Metroplex will be in the path of the totality for maximum viewing,” Gurdemir said.

uta planetarium

UTA Planetarium will also run shows all afternoon on Oct. 14. All outdoor events are free and open to the public. Planetarium shows will be regularly priced.

More information can be obtained at UTA Planetarium’s eclipse website, https://www.uta.edu/planetarium/eclipse.