“In the Path of Totality” Flagship Events in Austin, Texas

By John Tracey January 10, 2024

With the total solar eclipse fewer than 100 days away, the Simons Foundation is thrilled to share plans for our flagship day-of-eclipse event, as well as two days of additional programming, all in Austin, Texas. These three days in Austin promise to be unforgettable, with scientists, artists, musicians, food and drink partners, and countless activities and opportunities to connect. April 8, 2024, marks the first total solar eclipse visible in Austin since 1397.

The magical three-day event begins at Waterloo Greenway on Sunday, April 7 (doors open at 5:30 p.m.), as writer Maria Popova (The Marginalian) brings The Universe in Verse to the Moody Amphitheater at Waterloo Park. The show – a charitable celebration of science and the wonder of reality through poetry and storytelling – will feature a cast of beloved musicians, writers, artists, and other public figures, reading poems that speak to the science of eclipses. The evening will provide a chance for participants to reflect on their place in the cosmos while listening to readings of timeless poetry under the Texas sky. Tickets are available now.

On eclipse day, thousands of Austinites are invited to join us at the Long Center for the Performing Arts to witness an event not seen in the Texas sky for 627 years. They say everything is bigger in Texas, and it doesn’t get much bigger than this: The moon will eclipse the sun, casting its shadow upon Earth, turning day into night. Downtown Austin will receive nearly two minutes of totality. The temperature will drop, the city will grow darker, and those lucky enough to be there will gaze up at the rare spectacle. Tickets are available now.

While nothing can eclipse the eclipse, we’ve made sure to offer exciting activities throughout the day, from the moment doors open at 11 a.m. to the event’s conclusion at 3 p.m. Molly Webster of Radiolab will emcee the event and offer a special activation with her Radiolab colleagues. Joining them will be authors Debbie Millman and Roxane Gay, musicians, and scientists from the Simons Foundation and the University of Texas at Austin. Refreshments will include special-edition, eclipse-themed beers from our partner breweries in Austin.

The following morning, April 9, Molly Webster will lead children and families in a reading of her book, Little Black Hole — a space-themed story about belonging and the power of friendship. The event will be part of Waterloo’s Morning Glories series.

So, why Austin for our flagship event? While we know every town across the path will have an incredible experience, we chose Austin because of the city’s rich cultural history and unique power to convene people. Austin has been at the vanguard of compelling event programming for decades, whether it’s music, science, art, food or festivals. We also have many partners in Texas, so it made sense to headquarter in Austin on the big day and continue our role as the connector of these exciting initiatives. But from Austin to Little Rock, from Cleveland up to Rochester, we’ll watch as our new partners and friends execute their incredible programs.

Will you be in Austin for the eclipse? If so, visit the Waterloo Greenway and Moody Amphitheater websites to secure tickets to each event. The April 8 event at the Long Center is free, with the first 1,000 guests receiving a special “In the Path of Totality” gift bag. The Universe in Verse event is pay-what-you-can, and Molly Webster’s event on April 9 is also free.

In the run-up to April 8, be sure to check out a special art activation from the Fusebox arts organization and artist Guadalupe Maravilla. Tickets will be available soon on the Fusebox website. Also happening in the run-up is an interactive sound walk presented by the Long Center in partnership with Point A (artists Andrew Schneider and Annie Saunders). Tickets will be available soon on the Long Center website. Both projects reflect how “In the Path of Totality” is connecting with art and cultural centers. Finally, our partners at the Thinkery, Austin’s beloved play-based science museum, have put together a slew of events in the lead-up to the eclipse. As part of their Joyful Learning initiative, their community partners will host eclipse viewing parties throughout the Austin metro area. Learn more about that here.