NASA touches down in Kerrville for annular solar eclipse

Don’t forget to look up on Saturday! An annular solar eclipse will create a "ring of fire" effect. 

NASA’s Chief Scientist Kate Calvin flew to Kerrville for a special live broadcast that will take place as the moon almost fully blocks the sun.

Along with streaming live from Kerrville, which is right in the path of the eclipse, NASA will be live-streaming from Albuquerque, New Mexico. 

NASA will also be in White Sands National Park launching rockets carrying scientific instruments to study the eclipse’s effects on the atmosphere.

"Up in the upper part of the Earth's atmosphere is called the ionosphere. So the energy, the sun's energy, breaks down particles, leading to ions. And it happens when the sunlight comes in," said Calvin. "And this is a really important part of the atmosphere. It's where our satellites are. It's where radio signals go, where GPS signals pass through. And so when the sunlight goes away, it changes what happens in that part, so we want to understand that better."

When NASA put out a call for volunteers, Kat Troche couldn’t resist. She flew in from New York to witness her first annular solar eclipse and help with NASA’s stream.

"The sun will travel through the solar filter, pass the corrective plate into the primary mirror, and then from there, it'll hit the secondary mirror that's attached to the corrector plate on the front," said Troche with the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, showing FOX 7 the telescope. "And then that will aim up into the diagonal that goes into the DSLR. The DSLR will then stream to YouTube on NASA's feed." 

In Central Texas, the eclipse will start around 10:20 a.m. and last about three hours, but the maximum annularity will occur right around 11:55 a.m. 

RELATED: How to view the annular solar eclipse safely

"By blocking the sun, it actually changes things here on earth," said Calvin. "So scientists are really interested in doing science during the eclipse so that we can understand those changes and better understand the sun and the effect it has on Earth."

A point of caution: never look directly at the sun without special protection.

"You need eclipse glasses or a safe solar filter," said Calvin.

Kerrville also sits right in the path of the upcoming total solar eclipse that will take place April 8, 2024. 

To pinpoint the exact times that are best for viewing the eclipse from your location, click here.