Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

The Texan’s guide to the total eclipse

Carly Ramos

The city of Austin and UT are making preparations for a full solar eclipse on April 8.

Austin will experience its first total eclipse since 1397 with the next total eclipse for the city not expected until 2343, according to a Feb. 12 statement sent to the UT community from President Jay Hartzell.  

“The University will be setting aside time for community-wide viewing from 1 to 2 p.m. that day,” Hartzell said in the statement.  “Classes will not meet, and most normal University services will be suspended for that hour.” 

Along with the cancellation of classes during the total eclipse, the University will hold a campus-wide viewing event starting at 11 a.m. and lasting through the entire eclipse, which is expected to end around 3 p.m. 

However, looking at the eclipse can cause vision impairment, said Dr. Eileen Bowden, assistant professor in the Department of Ophthalmology, in an email. 

“Exposure to solar light can damage or even destroy cells in the retina that transmit visual information to the brain,” Bowden said. “If this damage occurs, the resulting symptoms can last just a few hours or several months depending on the amount and depth of damage. In some instances, full recovery does not occur.”

Viewing without eye protection is safest during the total phase of the eclipse, which is expected to last 2-3 minutes, Bowden said. 

To combat this, students, faculty and staff can choose from 16 different locations across campus to pick up eclipse glasses, learn more about the eclipse or grab eclipse-themed snacks. 

Off-campus, the city will host a separate viewing event at the Austin Central Library with a pop-up exhibit from NASA. The city will also hand out a limited number of eclipse glasses to residents at all Austin Public Library branches starting April 4.

In anticipation of high tourist traffic, the city advised residents and visitors to make plans for travel ahead of the eclipse, as well as have plans in place to communicate with family and friends in case phone service is impacted. 

The Texas Department of Transportation expects areas within the viewing path to experience heavy traffic and sudden stops by drivers to watch the event. Additionally, drivers should be vigilant of pedestrians stopping and looking to the sky. 

“From 1:36 to 1:38 p.m. on April 8, Longhorns will have one of the best views in the universe — and we want you to enjoy it,” Hartzell said in his statement.

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