How and where to safely view solar eclipse in the El Paso area

National Weather Service demonstrates the best spots in the Borderland to view the eclipse.

Monday will be the first time in a century that a total solar eclipse will pass through the U.S. This total eclipse is an event your parents and probably grandparents have never witnessed.

Here in the Borderland, we will see a partial eclipse because we're not in the path of the eclipse totality, but it's still important you wear special glasses if you watch. Although the moon will be blocking the sun Monday, experts say looking directly at the eclipse could cause eye damage. Regular sunglasses will not work to protect your vision.

Local optometrist Dr. Mohamed Guenena said sometimes damage from looking directly at the sun can be reversible over a period of six months, but in many times, it is not curable, so the key is prevention.

"What happens is you induce a chemical reaction in the center of your vision, which is called the macula, responsible for your sharp, crystal clear vision. Sometimes this damage is permanent,” Guenena said. “So we always recommend you put on solar eclipse glasses. Make sure (they're) the one that has the ISO reference on the side that's approved by NASA and the Astronomical Association."

He said if you start noticing subtle headaches or blurry vision, schedule an eye appointment right away because there are special machines that can detect subtle changes in the macula.

Make sure your glasses have ISO on the side. The problem is, a lot of places are already sold out of these glasses.

The path of the totality runs from the Pacific Northwest to the Southeast. El Paso is not in that path, but the peak time Monday when the sun is most covered by the eclipse in El Paso is around 11:45 a.m.

"The effects of the eclipse, you'll start seeing as early as 45 minutes before that, or even an hour before that. You'll start seeing the moon start to intrude on the sun's disc and it will last at least an hour after that effect,” said Gregory Lundeen, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in El Paso.

El Paso will see about 60 percent of the sun covered at peak eclipse. Lundeen said if you want to find a better view, head west.

"In Truth or Consequences, there will be 66 percent coverage. That's only slightly more, but it is more. The further north you go like Santa Fe, (there will be) 75 percent coverage. Durango (will have) about 80 percent coverage,” Lundeen said.

Lundeen predicts viewing weather Monday will not be ideal.

"We expect it to be partly cloudy,” he said. “El Paso is going to be right on the edge of a deeper, thicker band of clouds that will be more toward the east and toward the north. The further west you go, it will be less cloudy. The further east you go, it will be more cloudy."

Local Solar Eclipse Event Locations & Times :

Monday, August 21, 2017, 9:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

  • Armijo Library, 620 E. 7th Street
  • Dorris Van Doren Library, 551 Red Rd.
  • Jose Cisneros Library, 1300 Hawkins
  • EPCC Transmountain campus
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