New Braunfels Home Depot Parking Lot Could Be Best Place to Enjoy Saturday’s Eclipse, Space.com Says

Eclipse path
‘Grazing zones’ are where edge effects like Baily Beads will likely be seen Saturday. (Image credit: Michael Zeiler/GreatAmericanEclipse.com)

Residents living in the Canyon Lake area will not see an unbroken ‘ring of fire’ during Saturday’s solar eclipse, but areas southwest and northwest of New Braunfels will experience annularity, according to the New Braunfels Astronomy Club, which hosts an eclipse party at Tye Preston Memorial Library in Canyon Lake.

The partial eclipse begins around 10:23 a.m. Saturday for Canyon Lake, New Braunfels, San Antonio, Schertz, Floresville, Bandera and Boerne. Annularity begins near 11:54 a.m. and lasts 4 minutes, 21 seconds. The partial phase resumes and ends around 1:33 p.m.

To see circumstance details for San Antonio, click here.

Celestial Phenomenon

Home Depot
The parking areas at any of the big box stores located at the intersection of SH-46 and I-35 are ideal for viewing another celestial phenomenon associated with Saturday’s annular eclipse. Image courtesy of Mapquest.com.

Space.com suggests that instead of scrambling to find the perfect place to watch the eclipse those who live in the so-called “grazing zone” might want to pull up a lawn chair in the Home Depot parking lot near SH-46 and I-35 to watch a “rare edge event” unfold.

Large parking lots in that area are one of seven locations identified nationally for viewing ‘Baily’s Beads,’ spots of light that appear when the moon seems to touch the sun. They resemble a string of luminous beads.

“Chiefly, you see a ‘broken ring’ as Baily’s Beads — sunlight streaming through gaps between the mountains on the Moon — fizz around the lunar limb from one side to the other over a few minutes,” Space.com said in an article posted in September.

“On the actual day of the eclipse, it may make sense to position yourself at either the southern or northern edge of the path of annularity, where the ‘ring of fire’ is but a fleeting sight, if present at all,” the independent space news publication said on its website.

An employee with New Braunfels Home Depot said he hadn’t heard about the eclipse or the Space.com article but doubts the company would encourage any activities in its parking lot. MyCanyonLake.com reached out to corporate headquarters to see if Home Depot was aware of the national shoutout.

Understanding the ‘Ring of Fire’

An annular solar eclipse happens when the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth while at its farthest point from Earth.

Annularity is the maximum phase of an annular eclipse during which the moon’s entire disk is silhouetted against the sun, according to NASA. It lasts from a fraction of a second to a maximum of 12 minutes, 29 seconds. Another name for annularity is “ring of fire” due to the ring of sunlight that surrounds the moon.

“The name annular eclipse is enigmatic to many people who are not into astronomy,” the New Braunfels Astronomy Club said in its September newsletter. “Maybe it should be named the super partial eclipse!”

“Within the path of angularity and with protection, you will be able to track the eclipse’s progress as the moon takes a larger and larger bite out of the sun,” said Eric Erickson, president of the New Braunfels Astronomy Club. “The main event, annularity, will look spectacular with its ‘ring of fire.'”

Protect Your Eyes!

The only safe way to view a partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as “eclipse glasses” or viewers that meet international standard ISO 12312-2 for safe viewing, according to the American Optometric Association. Sunglasses, smoked glass, unfiltered telescopes or magnifiers, and polarizing filters are unsafe.

Eclipse glasses or handheld viewers should be checked before use, and if torn, scratched, or otherwise damaged, discarded.

The sun is never completely blocked by the moon during an annular solar eclipse – and it’s never safe to look directly at the sun without proper eye protection.

To observe the eclipse safely, stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking up. After viewing, turn away and remove your glasses or viewer do not remove them while looking at the sun. If you normally wear eyeglasses, wear your eclipse glasses over them, or hold your handheld viewer in front of them.

“Eclipse blindness” occurs when eyes are exposed to the sun and the light exposure damages or destroys cells in the retina. These retinal burns, also known as solar retinopathy, can be temporary or permanent with no associated pain. Sunglasses, unfiltered telescopes, and polarizing filters are not safe to use to view an eclipse.

It can take a few hours to a few days after viewing the solar eclipse to realize the damage that has occurred.

Erickson said other options exist beyond safety glasses. Anything with small holes will project an image of the sun on the ground. A piece of paper/cardboard/wood also works.

“I’ve seen colanders used,” he said. “They project dozens of images. Binoculars will project a magnified image, just don’t be tempted to look into the eyepieces. Certified specialty filters or filter material over the objectives will allow direct viewing with binoculars and telescopes.

To learn how to make a simple pinhole projector, click here.

Local Eclipse Events and Viewing Parties

Here are ways to enjoy and learn more about Saturday’s eclipse in the greater New Braunfels area:

Annular Solar Eclipse Party
10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14
Tye Preston Memorial Library
16311 S. Access Rd., Canyon Lake

The New Braunfels Astronomy Club will set up telescopes with solar filters for members of the public to safely view the eclipse. The library also will distribute 200 pairs of solar glasses.

Family fun activities include UV light and making pin-hole solar viewers to use to view the eclipse.


Ring of Fire: Exploring the Marvels of Annular Eclipses
7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13
Guadalupe River State Park –  TPWD
3350 Park Rd. 31, Spring Branch

As of Monday plenty of day-use passes are still available. GRSP is sold out of camping and day-use reservations for Saturday, Oct. 14. Need eclipse glasses? Swing by headquarters this week anytime between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to purchase a pair for $3.19.

Park passes required.

Eclipse Party
10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 14
Fischer Park
1935 Hilltop Summit Rd, New Braunfels

New Braunfels Parks and Recreation will set up a telescope equipped with a solar filter. Family fun activities included. Free event. Pre-registration is not required.

Solar Eclipse Watch Party
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14
Museum of Texas Handmade Furniture
1370 Church Hill Dr., New Braunfels

Out-of-this-world day of celestial wonders and culinary taco delights.

Gruene Lokal Marketplatz & Solar Eclipse Watch Party
9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14
Gruene Historic District
1601 Hunter Rd., New Braunfels

Enjoy celestial wonders and shopping at an outdoor market. Got Toys-Gruene will sell solar eclipse glasses.

Ring of Fire-Annular Eclipse
11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14
Brauntex Performing Arts Theatre Association
290 W. San Antonio St., New Braunfels

Enjoy gathering in the spacious parking lot with a great view of the Annual Eclipse or sit inside and watch the entire eclipse on a huge video wall as it’s live-streamed by NASA. Admission is free.

Solar Eclipse on the River
10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14
Rockin R River Rides
1405 Gruene Rd., New Braunfels

This is not a free event. A limited number of rafts and paddle boards are available.

VIP Eclipse Viewing Party
9-11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 14
Natural Bridge Caverns
26495 Natural Bridge Caverns Rd., Natural Bridge Caverns

Looking for the best spot to watch the eclipse? The open meadow area at the caverns provides great viewing. Options to book loungers and enjoy brunch. Three levels of packages are available: The Ring of Fire, The Dark Sky, and The Moon Shadow. This is not a free event. For more information, click here.

Annular Eclipse
11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14
Headwaters at the Comal
333 E. Klingemann St., New Braunfels

Viewing glasses as well as a fun and ‘tasty’ moon phase activity for everyone to enjoy. This is not a free event. For more information, click here.

Solar Eclipse
11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14
JBSA Rec Park at Canyon Lake
698 Jacobs Creek Park Rd., Canyon Lake

The event is open to all Department of Defense cardholders. $10 for children 12 and under. $20 for ages 13 and up. Reservations required. Fun tools for telescopes and solar eclipse glasses provided.

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