Eclipse glasses available first-come, first-serve at Edinburg, Brownsville Campuses

  Saturday, April 6, 2024
  Community, Events and Exhibits, Around Campus

By Karen Villarreal

EDINBURG, TEXAS – APRIL 6, 2024 – UTRGV will host “Science in Motion” viewing events Monday, April 8, to observe the total solar eclipse, which will reach approximately 92 percent totality in the Rio Grande Valley.

A limited quantity of eclipse glasses will be available at the Interdisciplinary Academic Building courtyard on the UTRGV Brownsville campus and by the Sundial on the UTRGV Edinburg campus (between the HPEII gym and engineering building) starting at 12:45 p.m.  

Vikki Penix, program coordinator for the South Texas Space Science Institute, said the viewing events are a collaborative effort between UTRGV's Department of Physics & Astronomy, the South Texas Space Science Institute, the Society of Physics Students, UTRGV's H-E-B Planetarium, and the Center of Excellence in STEM Education.

“In Brownsville, our ultra-high contrast Coronado SolarMax III telescope will track the Moon as it passes in front of the Sun, casting its shadow and darkening the mid-day sky,” Penix said. “We’re also going to have an indoor viewing event of what the telescope is capturing.”

Both locations will also host additional astronomy-related activities, including student research presentations.


According to NASA, the next total solar eclipse that can be seen from the United States will be in August 2044.

“This is a once in a lifetime event that future generations might not get to experience,” said Amanda Champion, H-E-B Planetarium coordinator. “And this solar eclipse is special because it has a longer duration of totality.”

Monday’s eclipse is expected to last more than four minutes in totality – twice as long as the last total solar eclipse seven years ago.

The Rio Grande Valley is not expecting full totality. The eclipse will start about noon, with the interesting coverage expected from 1:00-1:30 p.m., reaching close to 92 percent at 1:30 p.m.

Vision experts and astronomers alike are urging viewers to use the proper protection when observing this natural wonder, to avoid permanent damage to the eyes.


Teviet Creighton, STARGATE project lead, stresses that eclipse glasses must be worn at all times​ when looking at the Sun.

“Even in locations that experience totality (in Texas, roughly along a line between Eagle Pass and Dallas), you should keep glasses on until the last point of light on the Sun's rim vanishes,” Creighton said.

“You're going to have to keep your eclipse glasses on the whole time if you're going to look for it,” said Dr. Lorena Flores-Hernandez, optometrist and glaucoma specialist at UT Health RGV Vision Center. 

“Before putting your glasses on, make sure there aren't any holes or tears. Even the slightest tear can cause severe damage to your eyes,” Champion said.

UTRGV student representatives from the H-E-B Planetarium and the other collaborators will be on hand at both viewing events to explain safe viewing options – such as a pinhole viewer – to observe the eclipse. 

Champion says a pinhole viewer is simply a small hole poked through an index card or sheet of paper that projects the eclipse onto a solid surface.

“Do not look at the sun through the pinhole! The pinhole is used to observe the shadow of the moon covering the sunlight,” Champion said.


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.