Bill Nye the Science Guy to visit Texas for total solar eclipse

Bill Nye the Science Guy will be here in Central Texas for the once-in-a-lifetime total solar eclipse happening on Monday.

The path of totality will pass over a large part of Central Texas, including Austin, Dripping Springs, Cedar Park, Georgetown, Killeen, Fredericksburg, Blanco, Llano, Burnet and northwest San Antonio

To mark the occasion, Nye and the Planetary Society is hosting Eclipse-O-Rama 2024, a two-day camping festival in Fredericksburg, which will also feature Tim Dodd, the Everyday Astronaut; Bob Pflugfelder, better known as Science Bob; and YouTuber Mark Rober.

The event will have talks on astronomy and planetary science, exhibitor and activity booths, star parties, hands-on activities and food, all at the Lodge at Country Inn Cottages.


Good Day Austin's Libbi Farrow spoke with Nye about the eclipse and the event:

LIBBI: Here I am with Bill Nye the Science Guy. That's something I thought I would never say, but we are talking all about the solar eclipse that is happening on Monday. Bill, why don't you tell people about the huge event if they don't know about it already?

BILL NYE: The moon will come between us and the sun for, in the Austin area, about four minutes, which is a long time. And it will go dark. The world will go dark. The birds will chirp. Crickets will creak. Whatever they do. And, it'll get a little bit cool very quickly, because there'll be no sunlight. And there'll be a breeze that's induced by the calm, cool ground, cool air pushing the warm air up. And it's cool. It's amazing. And it's, for many people, it's a once in a lifetime or twice in a lifetime thing. I encourage everybody to watch it carefully. What we all do as humans is we see the moon coming between us and the sun, and we just, we just want to stare at it.

LIBBI: It's really important that people don't just look up at the sky and stare at their eyeballs and their regular sunglasses and protective gear.

BILL NYE: That's why everybody should get your eclipse glasses. Now, these glasses are cardboard with mylar plastic inserts, but they are quite enough. They are plenty. If you have these real glasses, you're perfectly safe. There is a chance, if you're somebody with my skin tone, of getting the raccoon thing because you've been staring at the sun for an hour and a half. But it's really important because you just. It's just human nature. You just want to watch it. And without the right eye protection, you can enjoy your eyes. And so sunglasses, conventional sunglasses will not do it. Not nearly enough. These are about, in physics terms, about 100,000 times darker than sunglasses. 

LIBBI: You're going to be in Fredericksburg. Why don't you tell us about that?

BILL NYE: We picked Fredericksburg because it's right in the middle of a path, and we got a big ranch. It's, I guess, a wedding venue often. And we'll have 800,000-900,000 people out there watching this thing. And, it's another thing, everybody, the so-called shared experience that really enhances it when you're with everyone, and everybody's looking up and watching this. It's really something. So we have the remarkable happenstance here on Earth, where the moon blocks the sun.

LIBBI: What if, you know, the average person wants to come out and hang out with you? They can do that. Why don't you tell people how they can do that?

BILL NYE: Everybody is a member of the Planetary Society. Of course, you are. That's why you went to That's why you have the planetary app on your phone. Yes, of course you do. And so, then come on out to Fredericksburg, and we will share the experience. It'll be big fun. It really is remarkable. This will be my third one as a grown up. And, I'm very much looking forward to it. It's really, it's just amazing, you guys. And for many people, it's quite moving. And I remind everybody that if a psychic or who else would you consult, a tarot card reader, maybe. Or with respect to various priests of various sects, if they could make predictions with the kind of accuracy that astronomers have. They would be getting someplace. But of course they can't. But astronomers have this thing worked out to the 100th of a second. And it's really fantastic. As the shadow will move north, apparently north across Earth's surface. It'll get narrower because of the curvature of the Earth. So being in Texas, or if you're in Mexico, it's really good. And so, eclipses like this happen every year and a half or so, but they're usually in the middle of the ocean. And so, because most of the earth is covered with ocean and so you don't see them. And there are, of course, hard core who get in ships and go out there and chase eclipses. But this one's fantastic.

LIBBI: This is a huge event. And I can't believe Bill Nye the Science Guy, you are going to be here in Texas spending it with us watching this amazing solar eclipse. Do you have any tips or tricks for people who may be experiencing this for the first time?

BILL NYE: Yes, be in the moment. That's a great question, Libbi. Excellent question. Well, we all know that. Yes, ma'am. People. Libbi, I don't know you, but I'm assessing, when you came to be here on Earth, people of your age want to take selfies. They're obsessed with selfies. Obsessed with the phone, the phone, the picture, the camera, the thing, the Instagram, all that. Got it. But this time, try to be in the moment. NASA, The Planetary Society and all kinds of astro-photographers will be taking picture after picture, a picture of this thing, but try to be there and experience it for yourself and remember the experience. That's my advice.

LIBBI: I think that's great advice. I just want to say it's been a pleasure to sit down and talk with you. I remember watching you growing up and my science classes, and I can hear your intro right now. It's like, Bill, Bill Nye the Science Guy. 

BILL NYE: Blast it!

LIBBI: It's so good. Thank you so much, Bill, for taking the time to speak with me. And I hope you have an amazing solar eclipse.

BILL NYE: Thank you. Looking forward to being in Texas. Let's go. Woo!