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Waco is preparing to be a prime destination for the 2024 total solar eclipse

The total solar eclipse is set to happen on Monday, April 8, 2024. Lucky for Central Texans, we are in the path of totality!

WACO, Texas — The 2024 total solar eclipse isn't for another year, but preparations have already started as it's supposed to draw the crowds to Central Texas.

Local cities are expecting thousands to visit on and around April 8, 2024 as Texas is a prime destination for totality. Waco is expected to see approximately four minutes and 13 seconds of totality.

The City of Waco has been planning a large event for the once in a lifetime sighting with the help of Convention & Visitors Bureau, Baylor University, Discovery Channel, and Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Ariz. They're calling it "Eclipse Over Texas: Live From Waco." It will also be livestreamed worldwide.

Organizers held a Town Hall Thursday evening to provide details and information about the event. They're trying to get local businesses and citizens to help promote the event and provide opportunities for when people come to town.

Heather Venable with Waco Tours attended the meeting. She said it helped provide a perspective to what locals can expect and how they can really buy into the rare experience.

"My hope is that the community really comes together and links arms," she added. "Instead of what can I do for my business, we can look at each other and say, what can we do for our city? I really think that that's capturing the spirit of what the organizers are trying to do for this event and so I'm very, very excited to hopefully meet more of our neighbors and partner up with things."

As a tour manager, she is looking forward to helping guide tourist and visitors that come in for the eclipse and she knows it will put an even larger spotlight on the city.

"The idea that the eyes of North America are going to be on Waco because we're in the path of totality for four minutes -- it's very, very exciting," she said.

The last time this astronomical event was visible from Waco was July 29, 1878, according to the City of Waco. They want the public to take advantage of the eclipse being close.

"We think this is going to be just a fun festival," the Assistant Director of Tourism for the City of Waco Carla Pendergrft said. "We're going to be able to tell you when you can take your glasses off at the moment of totality so that you don't burn your eyes. It'll be a time to be with other science people, science minded people, or maybe you will discover that you like science. We hope that this will expose kids to the world of science maybe get them to be interested in astronomy or all the different parts of science that have to do with the stars."

They anticipate the solar eclipse will be in totality around 1:38 p.m. and will last for a little over four minutes, almost double the time since the 2017 Great American Solar Eclipse event.

"The reason why we call this one of the most viscerally important four minutes of your life -- is that it's going to be just amazing," said Carla Pendergrft, the assistance director of tourism for the City of Waco. "As the moon goes in front of the sun, you're going to see the temperature drop about 20 degrees, the atmospheric pressure will drop, crickets will start to sing, the day birds will go away and you could even see some solar winds sweeping across the grass if you had like a white sheet out you can see the solar winds. Then looking at that through the glasses, we can we guarantee it will change your life."

A solar eclipse is when the moon moves between the Sun and the Earth, blocking sunlight from hitting the Earth. While this happens, you'll be see the Sun's corona, or crown.

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