BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The annular solar eclipse took place yesterday. Some people were luckier than others to get a glimpse of it.
Brownsville hosted an eclipse viewing party at its Southmost Library location.
Victor De Los Santos, Executive Director for the South Texas Astronomical Society explained what an annular eclipse was, and why the celestial event was so special.
He said, “Annular is another word for ring, and if the moon were right in the center of the sun, we would see the ring around it. Some people call it the ring of fire.”
De Los Santos added Brownsville wasn’t in the path of totality, but the area did get to see about 95% of it.
Brownsville City Commissioner Bryan Martinez said it was nice to see a lot of families come out and enjoy the event.
Martinez said, “Being able to look at the eclipse together as a community is a really cool sight to see.”
The Convention and Visitors Bureau and STARS partnered with the library to make the event happen.
Martinez said that because of the cloud cover, a livestream of the eclipse was also available to watch inside the library. Most spectators stayed outside hoping to catch sight of the eclipse with their own eyes.
Local resident Brian Villanueva said he was interested in astronomy and wanted to see the eclipse, but acknowledged the weather hadn’t been very cooperative.
“I’ve never seen a solar eclipse, so I was interested in like how it was, and how it looked like but the clouds were here and everything, it was nice seeing it.”, Villanueva said.
Officials estimated up to a thousand people visited the library. Some took eclipse glasses the library was handing out and went home, but most people stayed.
“We ordered over five thousand glasses, ISO-certified glasses, to make sure that everyone’s eyes were protected at the event.”, said Dafne Maldonado, Director of the Convention and Visitors Bureau and Office of Space Commerce.
Maldonado said it was important to have events like this to educate the public. She said she wanted kids to get excited about science, and the eclipse was a good opportunity for that to happen.
The Southmost Library branch has a small observatory on the grounds.
It had been damaged for some time but was just repaired last week to prepare for the eclipse. De Los Santos said it housed a fourteen-inch telescope that could pick up some very impressive sights at night.
He said he hoped his group could continue doing small-scale events at the library. De Los Santos said it was special to share this event with the city.
He said, “I think being a part of a crowd, all looking at the same astronomical event that only happens once every few decades, it’s a really great experience.”