Eclipse Viewing in Dallas

By Aharon Reich

Image of giraffe at Dallas Zoo. (

When I first learned several months ago about the upcoming eclipse, I researched where it could be best viewed in the continental United States, and I zeroed in on Texas and Vermont. I immediately checked the flights to those locations, and I saw that all flights to Vermont were booked solid. I guess others had the same idea, so I had to take the longer flight from New York to Dallas, Texas, to have the best chance of seeing the eclipse. I also saw that the weather in Texas this time of year is historically clear, so that was a good sign for a clear viewing.

I purchased the flight using points so that if the weather was predicted to prevent viewing, I could cancel the flight without losing any money.

My flight to Dallas was uneventful, and I knew that I would have to take public transportation once I arrived there, since all rental agencies were out of cars as well. I was pleasantly surprised to find the train system in Dallas to be refreshingly comfortable. Perhaps New York City can learn something from them.

I planned to view the clipse in the zoo, since I was curious to see how the animals would react to it. When I disembarked at the station nearby, I saw that the sky was cloudy, and I felt a bit of a letdown. Upon entering the zoo, I was handed a pair of protective glasses, and I made a remark that I do not think we will need them since it was quite overcast.

“Don’t worry, it will clear up in time,” the zoo employee said. Somehow, I felt like I was in shul on a Motzaei Shabbos waiting to recite kiddush levanah and waiting for the clouds to part. Lo and behold, just a few minutes before the scheduled eclipse the clouds parted, and a feeling of excitement filled the many people gathered for the anticipated eclipse.

Right on schedule, the sky dimmed and became completely dark. All who gathered got a perfect view of the moon covering the sun, the corona, and then the sun once again appearing after the moon passed. During the darkness, I could hear the zebras and giraffes making considerable noise. It sounded like they were confused and frightened by the sudden disappearance of the sun.

The seventeen hour round trip came to an end when I landed in New York City late Monday evening. The experience will remain with me for a lifetime, especially since the next visible eclipse in the continental United States, scheduled for 2044, will only be visible in North and South Dakota. Seeing first hand such niflaos haBorei was an incredible experience.

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