Texas Tech University

Mailbag: Annular Eclipse of the Heart

Allen Ramsey

October 9, 2023

Don’t forget to appreciate what you’re seeing on homecoming day.

Welcome to a special Monday edition of the Mailbag!

Homecoming week is here and Texas Tech University has all the homecoming activities a person could want. 

This week is always a good time. Old friends come back to campus and bring new friends with them. Events pop up all over the place. There are bonfires and game dinners and pancake breakfasts and stuff everywhere. The whole week is packed!

Then there are the homecoming tailgates, which are usually a very, very good time had by all.

Now, most years we just let homecoming have the spotlight all to itself, and rightfully so. Even this year, homecoming activities will take center stage, and with Kansas State coming to town the football game will be a big one. 

However, we would like to point out that something special is happening this year.  

First, for those who are not yet aware, homecoming this year falls on the same day as an annular solar eclipse

“Mailbag writer, what does that mean?” I hear you asking. 

No worries, we'll explain. 

An annular solar eclipse happens when the moon passes between the sun and Earth while the moon is at its farthest point from Earth. Because the moon is so far away from Earth, it appears smaller than the sun and does not block it all the way out, instead creating a ring of fire effect in the sky. 

Pretty sweet, right?

We'll admit we didn't spend the most time ever researching this, but a quick glance at the old sundial and the Mayan calendar (pretty sure that ran out a few years back, but whatever) tells us this might be the first homecoming day annular eclipse in Texas Tech's history. Given the next annular eclipse in the U.S. won't happen until 2039 – and that one will only be visible in Alaska – it's also safe to say you won't have many more chances to catch this type of event while tailgating a Texas Tech game in your lifetime either. 

So, on top of all the homecoming fun, we're adding in some details on the eclipse you might care about. 

Here's what you need to know. 

  • Maximum obscuration of the sun will happen between 11:30 a.m. and noon. 
  • Lubbock isn't in the direct path of the eclipse but is close enough to see more than 80% of it. 
  • Don't stare at the eclipse without protective eyewear. For real. It's dangerous. 
  • The Museum of Texas Tech University is hosting a viewing party for the eclipse along with a livestream. 
  • The YWCA of Lubbock is hosting a viewing party for the eclipse in conjunction with the Department of Physics & Astronomy
  • Physics & Astronomy is also livestreaming the eclipse. You can watch it here or here.
  • Texas Tech's Office of Outreach & Engagement is supplying protective eyewear across campus. The Museum of Texas Tech, Lubbock Lake Landmark and the National Ranching Heritage Center will have protective glasses available for the public. 

  • Listen, these things don't happen often. It's going to sound like we're lying when you find out there's a total eclipse happening in a few months, but we promise we're not. 

    Take advantage of the chance to see something cool. Enjoy the moment.

    Then go cheer on the Red Raiders and let's have a safe and happy homecoming weekend. 

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