On Monday, millions of people across the United States will have the opportunity to witness a total solar eclipse. It's the first of its kind in 99 years.
Mary Urquhart is a planetary scientist at the University of Texas at Dallas. She says North Texas will see just 75 percent of the sun blocked by the moon (it will not be a "total" eclipse here). Still, it's crucial to view the phenomenon safely.
The best time to catch the eclipse will be between 11:40 a.m. and 2:40 p.m. Monday. And, if you're unable to watch, NASA is live-streaming the event for four and a half hours, beginning at 11:45 a.m. Watch it below:
Local watch parties are happening at various Dallas library branches, the Perot Museum, the Dallas Arboretum, Denton's public library, Plano's public library, the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, the Frontiers of Flight Museum and more.
— Krystina Martinez (@ThisIsKrystina) August 21, 2017
If you miss it somehow, don't fret. Urquhart says the next eclipse like the one happening Monday will be April 8, 2024, and its path will be right through Dallas.
Interview Highlights: Mary Urquhart...
...On the phenomenon: A total eclipse of the sun allows us to see parts of the sun we wouldn't otherwise see, at least from the ground, and that includes the corona — the upper atmosphere of the sun. It also requires a really special geometry — things have to be aligned just right — as well as the moon being in the right phase in order for us to even have a solar eclipse.
...On the visibility of the eclipse: Here in Dallas, it's about 75 percent that we'll be able to see, and that's because the moon is only about a quarter of the diameter of the earth. It's about 30 Earth diameters (one Earth diameter is about 7,926 miles) away from us, and so the shadow that it casts is actually relatively small.
...On viewing the eclipse safely: If you don't have special viewing equipment, there are eclipse glasses, binoculars, telescopes and filters for telescopes. There are lots of other ways to view it safely, and that is to view it indirectly. You can make a pinhole viewer (like, from a cereal box). You can just cross your fingers together so there are little spaces between them and cast shadows on the ground, or look under trees where leaves will make that naturally happen.
Learn more about the eclipse from NASA
Watch safe viewing tips from NASA