The total solar eclipse is upon us. Here’s your last-minute Eclipse Day survival guide

Here’s everything you need to know before the moon obscures the sun and darkness falls in Dallas-Fort Worth on Monday, 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 Monday, April 8, a total solar eclipse will sweep across a large swath of North America, and at midday, nighttime will appear to fall on North Texas. No, this is not a Vin Diesel sci-fi movie, this is for real.

And it’s a rare event for the region! The last time North Texas witnessed a total solar eclipse was 1878. The next time won’t be until 2317.

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So, you really don’t want to miss this once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon for the region.

With Eclipse Day fast approaching, here’s your last-minute survival guide.


When will the total solar eclipse occur in Dallas-Fort Worth (asking for a friend)?

Around 12:23 p.m. 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.


Where can I see the total solar eclipse?

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.

“For most of us [in D-FW], it’s going to be fine just by going outside and looking up,” said Mary Urquhart, a planetary scientist at the University of Texas at Dallas. To get a clear vantage point, she recommended avoiding tall buildings and trees.

Got it. But maybe I’d like to find a watch party for the total solar eclipse?

The total solar eclipse is expected to draw thousands to D-FW, and dozens of eclipse-watching parties are planned. You can check our list of watch parties . Many restaurants are also planning parties and food and drink specials.

Check back as more events are announced. See individual websites for schedule changes and other updates, and visit Go See DFW for more events.

And — just curious — what causes a total solar eclipse?

A total solar eclipse requires a precise astronomical alignment, writes science journalist Adithi Ramakrishnan. The moon must pass between the sun and Earth at exactly the right angle, casting its shadow onto Earth. Though 400 times smaller than the sun, the moon is 400 times closer to Earth. During the total eclipse in April, the moon will be closer in its elliptical orbit to Earth and will appear to block the sun.


What schools will be closed for the total solar eclipse?

Some school districts already are announcing plans to cancel classes and close schools as the eclipse approaches. Others are planning for students and staff to watch from campus, partnering with the Perot Museum of Nature and Science to provide enough eclipse glasses for their campuses.


Where can I find solar eclipse glasses?

It’s only safe to look at a solar eclipse without protection during totality, or the few minutes of total darkness. Looking at the sun without eye protection can damage or kill cells in the retina that allow us to see, leading to dark spots and distortion in our vision. There are many ways to safely view a solar eclipse, and there’s still time to grab eclipse glasses or viewers. But they may sell out.

What will North Texas weather be like for the total solar eclipse?

The forecast isn’t looking very bright for the millions of North Texans and others planning to view the total solar eclipse April 8 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, but NWS meteorologists said Monday there’s still hope for “partial” viewability.


Viewing conditions for the total solar eclipse are expected to be “cloudier than normal” in North Texas, the National Weather Service said in its first “sky outlook” on Friday.

Last week, NWS Fort Worth shared a map showing a “medium” chance of the area getting a “partial” view of the total solar eclipse. The weather service said conditions are trending cloudier than what historical data show is typical for April 8, with a 30% chance for favorable viewing conditions.

I’m worried about traffic on Eclipse Day, April 8. Should I be?

Um, yes.


Prepare for traffic jams (ugh). The total solar eclipse could cause significant delays, particularly right after the event. The Texas Department of Transportation has been coordinating efforts to plan for eclipse traffic. TxDOT spokesman Tony Hartzel said the traffic could be as if several large football games all ended at once.

When totality ends — and later, when the moon fully moves away from the sun — eclipse watchers will hop in their cars and get on highways, leading to massive delays and stop-and-go traffic, said Abraham Benavides, a professor of public administration at the University of Texas at Dallas.

“The sun’s going to be back out,” he said, “life is going to continue and so everybody’s going to want to leave.”


What should I do if I plan to take photos of the total solar eclipse?

You’ll find lots of tips for shooting the eclipse on your camera and phone in this story by Sarah Bahari

In North Texas, the sun will be pretty high in the sky, making it somewhat difficult to line up photographs with well-known Dallas spots like Reunion Tower. Many of us will be shooting from our front yards and driveways, said staff photojournalist Smiley Pool, who is photographing the eclipse for The News.

“Walk into your yard the day before and look up at the sky,” he said. “Where will the sun be? How do you want to frame your photo? The city skyline? Your neighbor’s house? Develop a plan.”


Most importantly, what should my soundtrack be for the total solar eclipse?

Glad you asked.

We curated the ultimate 2024 solar eclipse playlist, which includes an abundance of songs with “eclipse” in the title, along with songs about the sun, moon and space.


Eight journalists with varying music tastes on The Dallas Morning News Audience Team sorted through their music libraries to find related songs, ranging from pop and country to metal and K-pop.

This survival guide is based on reporting by Sarah Bahari, Erin Booke, Norma Cavazos, Jamie Landers, Valeria Olivares, Zaira Perez, Travis Pinson, Adithi Ramakrishnan, José Sánchez Córdova and Dan Singer.

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