Shaun Valdez / Tejano Tribune
The solar eclipse viewing will take place next to the Valle Verde observatory.
Jesús A. Rodríguez
Seeing a double sunset is not something that people can do every day, but El Pasoans who watch the sky will be get a chance to do it on Thursday.
An EPCC astronomy instructor will hold a viewing party of the partial solar eclipse that will occur on Oct. 23 at the Valle Verde campus observatory, located next to the Child Development Center.
A solar eclipse is an astronomical phenomenon in which the moon passes between the sun and Earth. In a partial solar eclipse, the Moon doesn’t completely hide the solar surface.
People in the El Paso region will see the Moon obscuring about 41% of the sun.
“It is one way to improve what is your vision of the universe,” said Francisco Javier Carreto-Parra, EPCC astronomy instructor who is in charge of the Valle Verde campus observatory.
“When you understand that we are a little particle of dust floating in this universe and you say that there are many things that can change your life, come on, you’re part also of a bigger thing; not only of our planet, not only El Paso, we’re part of a huge universe that is in front of our eyes.”
The viewing in general will start at 3:30 p.m. so people can get familiar with the telescopes, but the partial solar eclipse will begin at 3:46 p.m. The moon will be closest to the center of the sun (maximum eclipse) at 4:46 p.m. and the partial will end at 5:33 p.m.
Telescopes with special solar filters will be provided at the EPCC viewing party. The event is going to be free and open to the public.
People bringing their own telescopes will be welcomed.
Astronomical events are sometimes associated with superstitions
“Don’t feel afraid of these natural phenomena,” Carreto-Parra said.
“Nothing is going to happen to the birth of your baby.”
Some precautions must be taken when watching the solar event.
“The first rule when we have a solar eclipse is the same rule as any other day; never look directly at the sun,” Carreto-Parra said.
“It’s not dangerous only the day of the eclipse, it’s dangerous always.
The little part of the sun that is still visible is enough to burn your retina.”
Carreto-Parra said that it is recommended to bring water, a cap and sunscreen if you plan on seeing the entire eclipse.
“As common people, you’re learning and growing,” he said.
“Every time that the human being learns something is growing; it’s to give to the next generation and more than a good reason to come and enjoy a good time.”