What to know about the total solar eclipse in Dallas-Fort Worth on April 8

What totality means for Texas, and why you should grab eclipse glasses early.

Dallas is one of the largest cities along the path of the 2024 total solar eclipse, which will sweep across North America April 8.

Editor’s note: This story is part of The Dallas Morning News’ coverage of the 2024 total solar eclipse. For more, visit

On April 8, 2024, Dallas-Fort Worth area residents will witness a once-in-a-lifetime event for the region, when the moon will appear to block the sun during a total solar eclipse. Here’s what to know about this celestial phenomenon, what totality means and why it’s not a good idea to sneak a glance without eclipse glasses.

1. What is a total solar eclipse?


A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and sun, casting a shadow that can partially or totally block the sun’s light. Texas experienced a partial eclipse in October known as the “ring of fire,” though it looked more like a crescent in local skies.

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At approximately 12:23 p.m. on April 8 in Dallas, the moon will begin to cover the sun, with totality — or total coverage of the sun — beginning around 1:40 p.m. and ending around 4 minutes later. The moon will then move away from the sun, with the spectacle ending around 3:02 p.m. Exact timing will depend on location in the metroplex.

2. What is totality, and how long will it last?


Totality is the time during a solar eclipse when the moon appears to totally block the sun. If weather permits — and Texas’ weather is considered to have the best prospects in the United States — a dark orb will be visible in the sky, surrounded by a thin ring of light. That ring is the sun’s corona, or outer atmosphere.

Daylight will dim and stars could be visible in the midday sky.


“It’s nighttime at 1 o’clock,” said McKenna Dowd, program coordinator at the University of Texas at Arlington’s planetarium.

Mary Urquhart, a planetary scientist at the University of Texas at Dallas, experienced totality in Tennessee during the 2017 solar eclipse. She describes it as an experience unlike any other.

“I remember … hearing cicadas, and then it went into crickets,” she said. “And then the cicadas came back out again.”

Totality in Dallas will last just under 4 minutes, though the exact duration depends on location.

3. Where can I see the eclipse?

On April 8, the eclipse will move from Mexico into the northeastern United States and Canada. The first location to experience totality, weather permitting, will be Mexico’s Pacific Coast at 11:07 a.m. PT or 1:07 p.m. CT.

Several Texas cities will be in the path of totality, including Dallas, most of Fort Worth, Waco, Temple, most of Austin and parts of San Antonio. Denton is outside the path of totality.

(Michael Hogue)

The best location to view the eclipse won’t take most D-FW residents very far.

“For most of us, it’s going to be fine just by going outside and looking up,” said Urquhart.


To get a clear vantage point, Urquhart recommended avoiding tall buildings and trees.

What is the path of totality? How to see the April 8 eclipse in D-FW
Most of Dallas-Fort Worth is in the path of totality for April 8's solar eclipse, but some residents might need to travel to see it. Here's what to know.

4. How rare is a solar eclipse?

Solar eclipses happen a few times each year but are only visible at specific locations on the planet. Not all those locations are easy to reach, especially since 71% of Earth is covered by water.


“They’re a lot more common than you think,” said Dowd. “However, they’re not common in places where there are people.”

The last total solar eclipse visible in the U.S. took place Aug. 21, 2017. Dallas was last in the path of totality on July 29, 1878, and won’t be again until 2317.

A total solar eclipse is visible in Belitung, Indonesia in 2016. Next April, a total solar...
A total solar eclipse is visible in Belitung, Indonesia in 2016. Next April, a total solar eclipse will be visible in D-FW skies, but don't look without eclipse glasses. (File photo / AP)

5. Do I need eclipse glasses?


Looking at the eclipse without eye protection is a major no-no. The sun’s intense brightness can damage eyes in seconds.

Eclipse glasses may sell out in the weeks leading up to the big day, so it’s worth getting them early. Many online listings for eclipse glasses can be counterfeit, but a list of safe options is available on the American Astronomical Society’s website. Glasses should comply with the International Organization for Standardization’s safety guidelines. (A note on the back of the glasses should say they meet ISO 12312-2 requirements.) Sunglasses are not protective enough.

There are also safe ways to view the eclipse without looking at the sky, Urquhart said, including poking a hole through cardboard or an index card and looking at the shadow cast on the ground when sunlight filters through. Using a colander or cracker would produce a similar effect.


It’s safe to look at the eclipse without glasses during totality but not before or after, Urquhart said. Before totality, viewers in Dallas will see the sun shrink in the sky until it disappears. They can then take off their glasses and set a timer for about three minutes to bask in totality, before putting on their glasses again for the eclipse’s final phase, when the moon moves slowly away to reveal the sun.

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Adithi Ramakrishnan is a science reporting fellow at The Dallas Morning News. Her fellowship is supported by the University of Texas at Dallas. The News makes all editorial decisions.