ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The annular solar eclipse will be in view Saturday, and several organizations around Abilene are hosting activities to see the natural phenomenon.
The eclipse is scheduled to pass over Abilene at 11:48 a.m. Saturday, October 14. To honor this opportunity that we won’t get for another 16 years, the Abilene Public Library – South Branch will host activities such as storytelling, crafting, and teaching facts to children. Additionally, the Abilene State Park will open its doors for folks to enjoy the natural event among nature.
“We’re just excited about this, and we want our community to be excited too,” said Alyssa Crow, manager of the library’s south branch.
Crow said at 10:00 a.m., the Abilene Library South Branch will open for eclipse-themed activities that give kids a look into the science and history behind this phenomenon. There will also be demonstrations of how to view the effects of the eclipse if you are not able to get a pair of viewing glasses to see it directly.
“Obviously, looking at the sun; it’s not a good idea. It’s not healthy or safe,” Crow warned.
All library branches will be giving out eclipse glasses leading up to Saturday, but note that mere sunglasses will NOT suffice for eye protection. Even with the proper eyewear, it is only recommended that you look no more than three minutes. Some local retailers have the glasses in stock as well.
The Abilene State Park will open at 8:00 a.m. and from then until noon, admission will be free, but Park Assistant Superintendent, Candyce Johnson said camping sites are already booked solid for the weekend. The park will be in 86% totality of the eclipse, meaning 86% of the sun will be covered by the moon.
“Eclipses happen, but they don’t always happen where you are,” said Johnson.
The sudden darkness can have an interesting effect on the local fauna, according to Johnson. Some diurnal animals (critters active during the daytime) will head off to bed while more nocturnal animals come out to play; a sight you wouldn’t normally see so early in the day.
“Most birds will stop singing, some birds that like to sing at dusk, for example the mockingbird, you’ll actually start to hear them sing more… Coyotes, your raccoons, they’ll start to move around,” Johnson listed.
This Annular eclipse also known as a “Ring of Fire” eclipse, meaning the sun will form a ring around the dark shape of the moon. In Abilene and other non totality areas, this ring will look more like a crescent.
“It’s just the awe and wonder of looking up and seeing something like this happen… It’s, for some people, a once in a lifetime event,” added Johnson.
An Interactive map of the Eclipse’s path can be viewed on NASA.gov, showing the prime viewing hours minute by minute for your area.