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Viewing options in the Dallas/Ft Worth area

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#1 Jack Day

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Posted 13 February 2024 - 05:18 PM

Hi everyone,

 

I am likely going to be in the Dallas / Fort Worth area for the eclipse and am wondering if anyone has suggestions on where to view the eclipse.  I am driving from Washington State, and will have a few small scopes, and my PST.  I am also planning on bringing a few solar projectors (see attached photos & my S&T article!).   It looks like heading towards Mesquite might be good.  Thanks in advance for any help / suggestions!

 

https://skyandtelesc...jection-viewer/

 

-Jack

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#2 jrussell

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Posted 14 February 2024 - 09:39 AM

I'd suggest finding some place south of the metroplex or east of Dallas. Dallas traffic can be a nightmare on a good day, and with the influx of people for the eclipse I expect it'll be far worse. Ennis is under the center line and a little SE of Dallas, but I really expect that's where a lot of people are planning on going. The outskirts of Kaufman and Terrell are also on the center line and I haven't heard as much talk about people going there, but take that with a large grain of salt.

 

As for myself, I'll be south of Ft. Worth.



#3 AstroSSM

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Posted 14 February 2024 - 04:39 PM

I don't have any recommendations for spots unfortunately, as I find myself in a similar boat. My wife and I are flying in and our spot of choice will mainly come down to what looks good on a satellite map.

 

On a side note, what's that setup you have on your telescopes with the eclipse projecting? I don't have any imaging gear but I do have a scope and that looks like a cool way to do some additional viewing!



#4 Jack Day

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Posted 14 February 2024 - 07:23 PM

I don't have any recommendations for spots unfortunately, as I find myself in a similar boat. My wife and I are flying in and our spot of choice will mainly come down to what looks good on a satellite map.

 

On a side note, what's that setup you have on your telescopes with the eclipse projecting? I don't have any imaging gear but I do have a scope and that looks like a cool way to do some additional viewing!

 

Hello,

 

The projector was a project I came up with for the 2017 solar eclipse.  We built them for the Table Mountain Star Party at our July, 2017 event.  They were also featured on the Sky & Telescope website, and all of the instructions for what we did are there.  I am happy to answer any questions about them!  I may make a couple more as I have some parts left over still.

 

The article is here:

https://skyandtelesc...jection-viewer/

 

Cheers,

 

Jack

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#5 SporadicGazer

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Posted 15 February 2024 - 04:17 PM

That looks like a nice variation of / alternative to the Sun Funnel.  (Maybe a little more work, but more flexible with sizing.)  Thanks!

 

https://eclipse2017....make-sun-funnel



#6 HoloTheWolf

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Posted 04 March 2024 - 02:20 PM

I'd suggest finding some place south of the metroplex or east of Dallas. Dallas traffic can be a nightmare on a good day, and with the influx of people for the eclipse I expect it'll be far worse. Ennis is under the center line and a little SE of Dallas, but I really expect that's where a lot of people are planning on going. The outskirts of Kaufman and Terrell are also on the center line and I haven't heard as much talk about people going there, but take that with a large grain of salt.

 

As for myself, I'll be south of Ft. Worth.

Greetings! Regarding the traffic, we are still weighing on going to Dallas or one of the Texas State Parks near the totality path.

Suppose we drive down from Oklahoma City early Monday morning at 4am to Dallas. How bad would the traffic be?

Thanks!


Edited by HoloTheWolf, 04 March 2024 - 03:34 PM.

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#7 blahbobbyblah

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Posted 04 March 2024 - 02:33 PM

Just an FYI, from my understanding a lot of the state parks are going to be doing reservations for day passes that day. You might want to check the possible parks you are looking at to see what they are doing and when they are opening up the reservation slots. They are going to be packed.

 

As far as traffic, I-35 is awful on a good day. There is construction on 35 just past the Red River going south. Not sure what the status of that will be in a month. You might do better time wise to look east of Dallas instead of trying to go through Dallas. Maybe the Greenville/Sulphur Springs area and over there?


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#8 jrussell

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Posted 04 March 2024 - 03:21 PM

I have to agree with Bobby about the state parks and 35. Cooper Lake SP and Lake Tawakoni SP are both in the path (Tawakoni almost on the center line and Cooper Lake very close). Of course those aren't the only ones but would be the easiest to get to from OKC and you wouldn't have to go through Dallas. Here's the TPWD FAQ on viewing the eclipse at a state park: https://tpwd.texas.g...ks/eclipse-faqs

This includes links for the state parks and information on each. Right now there's no camping available. There is a wait list but my experience with that has been when there's an opening an email shows up about 3AM and the site is long gone by the time I check email. Day passes are going to be available starting this Friday (March 8) at 8AM Central and I'm sure will go fast.


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#9 kfiscus

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Posted 05 March 2024 - 05:33 PM

Greetings! Regarding the traffic, we are still weighing on going to Dallas or one of the Texas State Parks near the totality path.

Suppose we drive down from Oklahoma City early Monday morning at 4am to Dallas. How bad would the traffic be?

Thanks!

You'll never make it...



#10 Cajundaddy

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Posted 05 March 2024 - 06:36 PM

Any nearby city/county/state park with clear skies would be my choice.  I want 3 things available:  shade, restrooms, parking.  State parks do require reservations but that locks you in to 1 location which **might** have a big fat cloud over it.


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#11 dcaponeii

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Posted 05 March 2024 - 08:26 PM

I guess I'm just going to reinforce what some others have already said.  South of Dallas along 287 starting from Midlothian through Waxahachie and on to Ennis will all be better than 4 minutes of totality.  My backyard in Waxahachie will be 4 min 20 s.  The center line passes over Lake Bardwell and just to the south of Ennis proper if I recall.  The center line yields an additional 5s of totality but hardly worth the extra driving.  Your biggest problem will be driving on the day of the eclipse.  I was in middle of nowhere Wyoming for the 2017 eclipse and we still got them the afternoon before the eclipse (and had a bit of trouble finding a spot to park but did succeed towards dinner time.

 

DFW will be FAR worse because of the population density.  I'm recommending to my family coming up from Houston that they come up Saturday morning for the eclipse on Monday and I'm a bit concerned that might still be bad traffic.  This won't be hurricane Harvey when people were stranded on I45 for 23 hours but it's going to be closer to that than to normal traffic for sure.

 

The state parks are out unless you already have reservations.  In all honesty your best bet is going to be some parking lot in some Walmart somewhere along the line of totality.  There are large fields adjacent to both colleges in Waxahachie as well as at the Civic Center and as of now I've not heard about any formal events in town for the eclipse.  The college kept talking about it but both myself and the Planetarium Director retired last year (partly in my case to make sure I wasn't going to be pulled away to do some public outreach crap during the eclipse) so that killed their plans as far as I've heard.

 

If we have rain before the eclipse day fields will be a NON-STARTER because of the high clay content of the soils around Waxahachie.  Did you see the news reports during Burning Man???  Not quite that bad but sinking up to your axles is not unheard of.  If there's rain within a day or two of the eclipse then stay on paved parking.

 

Pretty pessimistic from me I know but you need to have realistic expectations so you can plan accordingly.


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#12 jrussell

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Posted 06 March 2024 - 11:14 AM

The state parks are still an option as far as day passes since they will be available Friday, but expect them to go FAST. I've seen some people mention wanting to watch from Enchanted Rock SP but I've heard they are going to be doing day passes by telephone only, so if that's where you want to go I have one question for you: do you feel lucky? That may be the case at other state parks as well so I'd recommend checking the TPWD website to confirm. https://tpwd.texas.gov/



#13 Silent_Light

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Posted 06 March 2024 - 11:23 AM

Anywhere you can see the sun is a perfect spot, doesn't matter where, preferably without crowds !
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#14 dcaponeii

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Posted 06 March 2024 - 01:00 PM

Anywhere you can see the sun is a perfect spot, doesn't matter where, preferably without crowds !

It's the "without crowds" that's going to be the tricky part.  There are counties all along the path of totality that have ALREADY declared states of emergency for the eclipse.  I just don't think folks not from here are giving due consideration to the population density all along the eclipse path once you get to around San Antonio.  By the time you get a little north of Austin then Interstate 35 is in the path of totality from south of Temple until a little north of Waxahachie.  It is distinctly possible that by Sunday evening driving will be essentially impossible on any of the major roads.  This will make UT/OU football weekend look like a picnic and I've personally been stuck on I35 during UT/OU football for nearly 6 hours trying to get from Waco to Waxahachie.  If the morning of the eclipse you decide the weather is not to your liking your just going to be stuck I'm afraid.


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#15 Phillip Creed

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Posted 06 March 2024 - 01:05 PM

If you're driving in from Washington State, you're coming in from the west and I'd STAY on that side of the centerline if you're in the vicinity of metro DFW.  Stay out a hotel west of Fort Worth on April 7.  Drive in on E-Day, but stay on the west side.  After totality, drive back towards Abilene.

A lot -- A LOT -- of folks will be driving south/east from the centerline, but far fewer to the NW.  The traffic heading back from the centerline towards the cities along the I-35 corridor will likely be so bad there's gonna be students writing a thesis or dissertation on it in future years.

Clear Skies,

Phil


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#16 bunyon

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Posted 06 March 2024 - 01:10 PM

I’ve sat for hours on I-35 on a completely normal day. It’s a cursed, wretched highway. But, hopefully, if it’s clear over a wide area, the locals won’t be in traffic and will watch from home.

Definitely agree that, if possible, come from the west.

#17 dcaponeii

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Posted 06 March 2024 - 05:08 PM

I’ve sat for hours on I-35 on a completely normal day. It’s a cursed, wretched highway. But, hopefully, if it’s clear over a wide area, the locals won’t be in traffic and will watch from home.

Definitely agree that, if possible, come from the west.

Regardless of weather I'll be in my own back yard.  4min 20 sec and even under the clouds it will still get dark!!

 

The challenge in coming in from the west is even Arlington and Mansfield don't break 4 minutes.  One option might be to try going south on I-35W.  You break 4 minutes between Alvarado and Grandview.  Grandview is 4 min 15s which frankly is probably good enough.  The centerline, down in Hillsboro where the two segments of I-35 merge again, is 4 min 27s but I suspect you'd find a nightmare in Hillsboro because of the merger with I-35E.  This is all guess work.  I'm guessing you going to need two phones going, one with Google Maps so you can avoid all those nasty red-colored roads indicating traffic snarls, and the other with the eclipse track on it.  Stay off the main highways and get as close as you can Sunday evening and call it good enough.  Always remember that Walmart lets you park overnight in their lots (at least they used to because I used them a lot on long road trips.)  Unless you have already made a confirmed reservation somewhere you're not likely to find anywhere to stay other than parking lots that don't run you off.
 



#18 bunyon

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Posted 06 March 2024 - 05:51 PM

I've been surprised at the number of reservations on booking and airbnb at this point. I suspect people are starting to cancel multiples.

 

My "come from the west" remark was aimed at Jack (the OP) who is coming from Washington (state). He says later he's staying in OKC the night before. If it were me, coming from Washington, I'd come through New Mexico and stay in Abilene or San Angelo to make my weather call and try to avoid DFW at all costs. Most of the population going to the path will come from the east. And Dallas is never fun to drive through.


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#19 dcaponeii

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Posted 06 March 2024 - 06:51 PM

I've been surprised at the number of reservations on booking and airbnb at this point. I suspect people are starting to cancel multiples.

My "come from the west" remark was aimed at Jack (the OP) who is coming from Washington (state). He says later he's staying in OKC the night before. If it were me, coming from Washington, I'd come through New Mexico and stay in Abilene or San Angelo to make my weather call and try to avoid DFW at all costs. Most of the population going to the path will come from the east. And Dallas is never fun to drive through.


My wife works at UT Southwestern Medical center just northwest of downtown. I told her if she plans to drive to work Monday morning then she’d better plan on sleeping in her office Sunday night.
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#20 Philipg

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Posted 06 March 2024 - 10:24 PM

We are staying on the east side of town just off 30. Anyone know a park or something that I could go to? I’d like to just be on grass and not a parking lot. I’m not bringing a large scope just a little Seestar to take images while I enjoy the experience 



#21 Cajundaddy

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Posted 06 March 2024 - 11:04 PM

We are staying on the east side of town just off 30. Anyone know a park or something that I could go to? I’d like to just be on grass and not a parking lot. I’m not bringing a large scope just a little Seestar to take images while I enjoy the experience 

Lots of choices, pick the one you like:

https://www.dallasparks.org/Facilities



#22 dcaponeii

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Posted 07 March 2024 - 12:07 PM

If you're driving in from Washington State, you're coming in from the west and I'd STAY on that side of the centerline if you're in the vicinity of metro DFW.  Stay out a hotel west of Fort Worth on April 7.  Drive in on E-Day, but stay on the west side.  After totality, drive back towards Abilene.

A lot -- A LOT -- of folks will be driving south/east from the centerline, but far fewer to the NW.  The traffic heading back from the centerline towards the cities along the I-35 corridor will likely be so bad there's gonna be students writing a thesis or dissertation on it in future years.

Clear Skies,

Phil

I hope you are correct about travelers coming in from the NW, but looking at the track, anyone traveling from the west has the closest route, with the most likely good weather, by heading to Texas from the west and northwest.  This could produce major headaches for travelers, given that only I-20 is the only interstate, with two significant alternates being TX-180 and TX-287, servicing the west and north west.  Looking towards the east, eclipse hunters have many more options for viewing locations that are closer than going all the way to north Texas.  Time will tell.  At least the 30-day forecasts are starting to shape up well for weather on eclipse day. (Of course I just jinxed it by saying so!!)



#23 bunyon

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Posted 07 March 2024 - 12:32 PM

I hope you are correct about travelers coming in from the NW, but looking at the track, anyone traveling from the west has the closest route, with the most likely good weather, by heading to Texas from the west and northwest.  This could produce major headaches for travelers, given that only I-20 is the only interstate, with two significant alternates being TX-180 and TX-287, servicing the west and north west.  Looking towards the east, eclipse hunters have many more options for viewing locations that are closer than going all the way to north Texas.  Time will tell.  At least the 30-day forecasts are starting to shape up well for weather on eclipse day. (Of course I just jinxed it by saying so!!)

I can't believe you wrote that. In order to stave off the jinx, we're going to require you to weld shut your observatory roof.


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#24 Phillip Creed

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Posted 07 March 2024 - 12:36 PM

I hope you are correct about travelers coming in from the NW, but looking at the track, anyone traveling from the west has the closest route, with the most likely good weather, by heading to Texas from the west and northwest.  This could produce major headaches for travelers, given that only I-20 is the only interstate, with two significant alternates being TX-180 and TX-287, servicing the west and north west.  Looking towards the east, eclipse hunters have many more options for viewing locations that are closer than going all the way to north Texas.  Time will tell.  At least the 30-day forecasts are starting to shape up well for weather on eclipse day. (Of course I just jinxed it by saying so!!)

The issue is the sheer imbalance in people that would come into the path from the east vs. the west.   I'd gladly take my chances coming to/from Abilene vs. to/from anywhere along the I-35 corridor.  There's not that many people west of the path in Texas.

There are 13 million Texans living in the path, ~40% of the state's 31 million residents.  Most of the remaining 18 million Texans outside the path are EAST of it, in the metro areas of Austin, Waco and San Antonio (just outside the path), Corpus Christi and Houston metro.

Not many folks heading back to Lubbock or Abilene.  And there's still enough US highways and state routes just west of the path if I-20 gets clogged.

Clear Skies,

Phil

 


Edited by Phillip Creed, 07 March 2024 - 12:37 PM.


#25 dcaponeii

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Posted 07 March 2024 - 07:03 PM

The issue is the sheer imbalance in people that would come into the path from the east vs. the west. I'd gladly take my chances coming to/from Abilene vs. to/from anywhere along the I-35 corridor. There's not that many people west of the path in Texas.

There are 13 million Texans living in the path, ~40% of the state's 31 million residents. Most of the remaining 18 million Texans outside the path are EAST of it, in the metro areas of Austin, Waco and San Antonio (just outside the path), Corpus Christi and Houston metro.

Not many folks heading back to Lubbock or Abilene. And there's still enough US highways and state routes just west of the path if I-20 gets clogged.

Clear Skies,
Phil


We will soon see.



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