• April 17, 2014

Mark your calendars: Total eclipse in 2024

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Posted: Friday, January 31, 2014 4:30 am

GATESVILLE — Howdy, Copperas Cove. Here is what is going on downrange in Coryell County.

Save the date: April 8, 2024. That is the day that the sun will go out over Central Texas — for four minutes and 28 seconds.

A rare total solar eclipse will occur in a narrow path across the globe on that date. The moon will pass between the sun and the earth, blocking all direct sunlight in that swath, turning day to night for a few moments.

This amazing fact came to light this week during a meeting of the Coryell County Economic Development Board, thanks to Fred Chavez, a member of the board and the director of the planetarium at the Mayborn Science Theater at Central Texas College.

Chavez, a resident of Cove, said Gatesville is smack-dab in the middle of the path and is one of the places that will experience the darkest of the darkness during the eclipse. (Of course, Gatesville never goes completely dark because of all the prison lights.)

“This could be a huge economic boon for the area,” Chavez said. “It is not too early to start planning.”

He sees a swarm of scientists and “science tourists” descending on the region to witness the brief blackout first-hand, along with a crowd of “yahoos” drumming up their other-worldly mojo with tom-toms, incense and incantations.

All those folks will need a place to stay, food, drink and entertainment after the light comes back on. Time to start going after those tourist dollars.

While this cosmic event may seem like a long time off, the second-graders in our local schools will be high school seniors when this eclipse occurs. Maybe these youngsters should be the ones to come up with the ad campaign.

How about a poster contest or a prize for best tourist slogan?

“Come for the eclipse, stay for the kolaches.”

If you have a better idea (and I would be shocked if you didn’t) contact Fred Chavez at 254-526-1671 or email fred.chavez@ctcd.edu.

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