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    Eagle Pass 1st in US to experience total darkness during solar eclipse

    By Sandra Sanchez,


    EAGLE PASS, Texas (Border Report) — The South Texas border town of Eagle Pass is where Monday’s total eclipse of the sun will first start in the United States after crossing the border from Mexico.

    Watch live: Solar eclipse now visible in parts of US

    The moon is to begin getting in between the earth and sun shortly after noon, and by 1:30 p.m. CST this area is slated to have a total eclipse — meaning night will strike for about four minutes in the daytime.

    Thousands of people are expected to watch the total eclipse in Eagle Pass, Texas, on Monday at the school district’s Student Activity Center stadium. (Sandra Sanchez/Border Report Photos)

    “It’s a fascinating astrophysical event,” Volker Quetschke, professor of physics and astronomy and an associate dean at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley told Border Report. “The sun will be completely darkened for a few minutes and you can actually see the stars during the day.”

    Quetschke, an award-winning scientist who was part of a team that detected gravitational waves, says much is to be learned by scientists during a complete solar eclipse.

    This includes studying corona physics and looking at the sun for information on solar flares and solar activity that, to date, is currently unpredictable by man.

    Animal behaviors also alter during a total eclipse, as do human reactions.

    Eagle Pass is expecting thousands of visitors and has opened its Student Activity Center football complex on the edge of town, operated by Eagle Pass Independent School District, to house visitors and locals to see the event.

    Police lined the parking lot and families began streaming into the facility before 10 a.m.
    Eagle Pass ISD police officer Robert Sierra is excited for Monday’s solar eclipse in the border town. The school district has opened its Student Activity Center stadium for public viewing. (Sandra Sanchez/Border Report)

    “We’ve had a lot of people come into Eagle Pass because of this eclipse,” Robert Sierra, a police officer with Eagle Pass ISD told Border Report. “People are really getting to know about Eagle Pass. First because of immigration and the border, and now with this eclipse.”

    Eagle Pass at the end of 2023 saw thousands of asylum-seekers cross the Rio Grande from Piedras Negras, Mexico, and surrender to U.S. Border Patrol to claim asylum. There were over 10,000 some days. Lately, the numbers have dramatically decreased, but it still remains an area where federal, and state officials have militarized the border with patrols and technology.

    Sierra said he’s glad for Monday’s event to portray his lifelong hometown in a better light — even if it is physically dark for a few moments, he joked.

    Schools here have been canceled for the day and caravans of RV trailers, trucks and vehicles toting extra gas cans have been making their way into the city all morning.

    Beth Manville is an eighth-grade social studies teacher who drove over six hours from Corpus Christi, Texas, to view Monday’s event. She sat in the parking lot at the ISD complex with her high-speed camera on a tripod, filter attached and timing schedule in hand telling her the appropriate settings for every minute of Monday’s event.

    Beth Manville, right, of Corpus Christi, shows a timing schedule she has to film Monday’s solar eclipse from the parking lot of the Student Activity Center in Eagle Pass, Texas, with her daughter, Katelyn. (Sandra Sanchez/Border Report Photos)

    “We got water, sunscreen, snacks, we’re ready to go. I’m super excited!” Manville said. She said she told her boss this was on her “bucket list” and he gave her today off from work.

    “It’s a unifying global phenomenon,” Quetschke said. “It knows no borders.”

    The next time the United States is scheduled to experience a complete solar eclipse will be in 2044.

    Sandra Sanchez can be reached at

    Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

    For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to KTSM 9 News.

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