Solar eclipse 2024: Thousands gather at Long Center

Despite cloudy conditions, thousands of people traveled from near and far to catch the total solar eclipse at Austin's Long Center.

"It's the experience you get from seeing something that's once in a lifetime," said Orlando Parr, who traveled from Louisiana.

Some started lining up early Monday morning to be among the first to stake out their spot, despite less than clear skies.

"At this age, we don't worry about anything. Just go with the flow," said Leticia Gonzalez, who traveled from Zapata County.

"Whatever God wants us to see, we'll see," said Sandra Gonzalez.


In addition to getting a front row seat for the eclipse, people also enjoyed live music, talks with astronomers, and even eclipse-themed beer.

"You got to get the beer. I mean it's a souvenir," said Meredith Canada, who traveled from Galveston.

"It's an Austin craft beer. So it's very good," said Betsy Anderson, who traveled from Houston.

As the moment of totality approached, the moon-covered sun peeked through the clouds and people were able to catch this once-in-a-lifetime sight.

"Totality has something to do with what you see, but it also has a lot to do with what you feel," said Bobby Garza, chief program officer for the Long Center. "And there are a lot of intangible things that happen, like the wind picks up and temperature goes down."

"Awesome. Totally awesome," said Beatrice Santa Ana of Austin.

"It looked unreal," said Jesse Barrientes.

"It seemed like everybody was in sync, and then a big wave of emotions just at that final moment," said Angel Barrientes.

It's that sense of community that many say they'll remember for years to come.

"An eclipse is one of those magical moments," said Ivvet Modinou of the Simons Foundation, which helped organize Monday's event. "Because for this small moment in time, we're all going to experience the same thing."

The next total solar eclipse over Austin won't be for more than 300 years, in the year 2343.