Tuesday, October 10, 2023

By Maria Gonzalez

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – OCT. 10, 2023 – UTRGV will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the UTRGV H-E-B Planetarium with an event on the Edinburg Campus on Saturday, Oct. 14, to view the annular solar eclipse, which will cross North America for the first time since 2012. 

utrgv solar event
(Courtesy photo)

An annular eclipse occurs when the Moon moves between the Sun and Earth but is farther away from Earth, making it seem a bit smaller than the Sun and leaving a glowing ring around the edges of the Sun.

According to NASA, the annular eclipse will unfold in four phases lasting over three hours, beginning as the sun crosses from Oregon to Texas, with a partial eclipse visible throughout the Lower 48 states.

Dr. Cristina Villalobos, founding director of the UTRGV Center of Excellence in STEM Education, associate dean in the College of Sciences, and professor of mathematical and statistical sciences, encourages the community to attend the eclipse event.

“We welcome the UTRGV community and our Valley community to join us in witnessing the eclipse in person,” she said. “Visitors can immerse themselves in our planetarium film showings, as this event promises to be a remarkable experience for everyone. We hope to help you gain a deeper appreciation for space and astronomy.”

Dr. Cristina Villalobos
Dr. Cristina Villalobos, founding director of the UTRGV Center of Excellence in STEM Education, associate dean in the College of Sciences, and professor of mathematical and statistical sciences. (Courtesy photo)

Hosted by the UTRGV H-E-B Planetarium, the Center of Excellence in STEM Education and the College of Sciences, the event underscores UTRGV’s commitment to advancing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in the Valley community.

This event is open to the public. Complimentary refreshments and solar viewing glasses will be available to early arrivals. Attendees can witness the eclipse and explore exhibits, including the La Villa Meteorite, which touched down in the Valley in April 1956, along with a diverse array of other activities.

For more information, visit www.utrgv.edu/planetarium.


The UTRGV Planetarium, including the UTRGV Portable Planetarium, serves the rapidly growing, international, multicultural Rio Grande Valley community. The Planetarium creates, promotes and disseminates learning and educational experiences through utilizing digitally enhanced visualization technology, surround sound and other innovative specialized equipment.

The Planetarium interactively motivates and attracts youth as well as the entire family and our community toward education by capturing their imagination while educationally exploring the universe through a wide range of disciplines including but not limited to science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The visualization laboratory provided by the Planetarium enhances student learning outcomes through a variety of educational areas and disciplines, preparing them for lifelong learning and leadership roles in the state, nation and world community.


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.