On August 21, a total solar eclipse will be visible from a narrow strip of land that stretches all the way across the United States from Oregon to South Carolina.
While the Rio Grande Valley is not in that path, you can still be a part of the once in a lifetime event.
“It’s pretty unique because it’s one that’s crossing the entire continental United States and that’s a very rare occasion,” said Richard Camuccio
“We do want to see if we can observe it, as well as being able to track the beginning of the eclipse to when it reaches its maximum eclipse,” said Moises Castillo.
Camuccio and Castillo are Richard and Moises are among the millions of people who will be watching the total solar eclipse on Monday, however they won’t just be watching.
“Potentially something we could measure or study ourselves would be just those times, when we have the beginning of the eclipse when the moon crosses in front of the sun up to when the moon does its coverage of the sun,” Castillo said.
Castillo, a PhD. candidate at UT-Arlington, normally studies eclipsing binary stars and asteroids at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Nompuewenu dome, but will be overserving the once in a lifetime event.
“Here at this observatory, it would just be for a general interest and for fun,” he said.
Camuccio, a graduate student, is studying physics at UTRGV, and constructed his own device to observe the total solar eclipse.
“You take a shoe box, and you cut a hole and cover it with tinfoil and poke a hole in it,” Camuccio said while holding the device.
Although the Rio Grande Valley will not be under the main shadow, observers can still witness 50 percent totality.
“The moon will just begin to cross the disk of the sun at [11:45 AM] and it’ll be over right before 3 PM,” Camuccio said.
The astronomers warn observers not to look directly at the sun, but to use solar eclipse glasses.
The UTRGV Observatory dome is located at the Resaca de la Palma State Park in Brownsville, and welcomes visitors.