🌚 4 different eclipse perspectives
Cat DeLaura/Austin Daily
- 7 min read

🌚 4 different eclipse perspectives

Plus, ever wonder how to get rid of an old laptop?

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Introduction

☀️ Hi there, Austin.

How are everybody's retinas? Still intact? Good.

Four of us were in totally different parts of the Austin area when the eclipse made its appearance. We'll tell you what it was like in each place.

Then, peep how to (sustainably) get rid of that old dusty laptop you've been keeping in the back of your closet. And see what one of the city's water treatment plants looks like from above.


From Pedernales Falls State Park ...

In the river there, the falling dark of the eclipse was met with silence from the birds and cries of awe from the human spectators.

The darkness felt nearly palpable as it descended, cloaking the bald cypresses along the river’s edge and turning the normally bright green water of the river into a murky brown upon which the moon, ringed by the sun’s light, lay reflected. It was hard not to imagine how world-shattering it would feel to be bathed in that sudden darkness if you had no idea it was coming. But for those there knowing what was coming, it was still awe-inspiring.

Cat DeLaura/Austin Daily

“This is so cool!” shouted one observer. From down the river, others offered up cheers. Some had driven from as far away as Colorado to witness the day’s celestial performance, undeterred by the forecast of clouds.

Still, despite warnings about an influx of visitors and increased traffic (and the fact that Pedernales Falls State Park reservations sold out within 10 minutes of being opened last month), there was little traffic leaving Austin Monday morning and plenty of open parking across the park. In the end though, park rangers said they turned away nearly 100 people, according to initial counts.

— Cat DeLaura, Reporter

From the Stephenson Preserve ...

For a space and weather nerd, this was my Super Bowl, my Daytona500, my Kentucky Derby, my World Cup, my NBA Finals … you get the point. This was BIG. Very thankful that the clouds broke up just enough to see the eclipse in totality.

My husband, 8-year-old, 4-year-old and I walked to the Stephenson Preserve and watched it with a field full of spectators. It's amazing how a rare event like this can bring so many people together. 

At the time of totality, it was surreal and emotional as someone started playing a Native American flute, and everyone clapped and cheered. My excitement and awe took over, and I felt tingly and energized.

Once it got quiet again, you could hear dogs barking, and crickets chirping, and you could take in just how dark the sky got.

Rousing me out of my mesmerizing moment was my 4-year-old asking, “Mommy, is it over? Can we go to the park to play?”

— Mary Wasson, Meteorologist

From West Austin Neighborhood Park ...

It's typically taken over by kiddos and doggos. But for eclipse day, it was ... taken over by kiddos and doggos AND a couple hundred excitable adults.

Randi Stevenson/Austin Daily

The crowd let out a collective cheer during totality and, for 3 brief minutes in Clarksville, all was right with the world. Thanks to the sun and moon.

— Randi Stevenson, Managing Editor

From an Eastside backyard ...

One of us had to be boring and stay home. I went outside barefoot at 12:50 p.m.

We leaned into it — a cheesy eclipse Spotify playlist was on, complete with Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine.” My boyfriend decided now was the perfect time to start mowing the lawn.

We hit the hammock at 1:15 p.m. By 1:22 p.m., it was noticeably colder. The sky turned green, like a nasty T-storm was rolling in. At 1:35 p.m., the streetlights came on. The lights from planes descending overhead toward the airport shone more brightly. A neighbor began shooting off fireworks. My dog scraped at the back door, trying to escape the loud booms.

It was nighttime in the middle of a Monday workday. And clouds be damned, you could still feel the significance of what we were witnessing.

Katie Canales/Austin Daily

Just like that, the darkness reversed. It felt like morning by 1:58 p.m. By 2:03 p.m., it was light again.

And then back to Slack I went, as though an historic astronomical event hadn’t just happened in my city. Surreal much?

— Katie Canales, Editor


Temperature: 80 | Sun:  Hidden | What to Expect: Severe storms possible

Pack the umbrella today and opt for closed-toed shoes instead of sandals. Thunderstorms are likely during the day with a few supercells producing large hail, high winds and maybe isolated tornadoes.

Mary’s Tip: Plan for a night in by cozying up on the couch and catching up on a favorite show. Perhaps “Downton Abbey,” if you're 13 years late to it like me.


Recycling symbol

Sustainable Austin: Can I throw this in the trash?

In the spirit of Earth Month, this week's Sustainable Austin section is focused on giving you practical tips about how to responsibly dispose of those items that you know shouldn’t be thrown in a landfill but you’re not quite sure where they should be thrown.

We'll break down where you can bring lots of specific items below, but one answer for just about every item is to bring it to the Austin Recycle & Reuse Drop-Off Center. Plus, it's free if you live in Austin or Travis County. Just double check that your item is accepted and make an appointment before showing up.

  • Computers and e-waste: Electronic waste is rapidly increasing, but there are options other than putting it all in the landfill. Plus, Texas law requires television and computer manufacturers to offer recycling. Check out the state-maintained television and computer database to find a recycling option. Or, if you think there's more life to be had, use the Austin Reuse Directory to find somewhere that offers repairs.
  • Plastic film bags: Many retailers — including H-E-B and Target — have collection bins for single-use plastic bags. So start a collection in your back seat and bring it with you on your next shopping trip. 
  • Styrofoam: Clean and dry styrofoam can be dropped off at the Recycle and Reuse Drop-Off Center, but the center does not accept shipping peanuts. Instead, drop off those at any Pak Mail store in Austin to be reused. Or keep them and reuse them the next time you ship something fragile. 
  • Batteries: There are lots of places that will take your old batteries, including some you might visit on a semi-regular basis (like the public library!). Find a full list of places here. (My tip: I use an old take-out container — labeled "Old batteries" — to collect mine. This way I only have to make one trip every once in a while when the container is full. Meanwhile, I know exactly where to put an old battery when I replace it.)
  • Clothing. Want to donate clothes to Goodwill but constantly forget to drop them off? You can schedule a curbside pickup for old clothes and housewares. Do it online, and they’ll send you bags to fill with your unwanted things. Then set the bags at your curb on your scheduled collection day. The items will then either be reused or recycled. 
  • Light bulbs. Once again, the trusty Recycle & Reuse Drop-Off Center is here to take your unwanted waste. They’ll also take string lights (like your no-longer-working Christmas tree lights). 
  • Toner and ink jet cartridges: For any of you true adults who actually own a printer (if that's you, it's OK, you can brag about it, especially if you're under the age of 40), take your ink cartridges to any Office Depot and get a discount on your next purchase. (For real, bring in any brand from any store, and they’ll give you a $2 reward per cartridge, with a few strings attached, of course). Staples offers a similar rewards program.

Have something that’s not on this list? The city of Austin has a handy “What Do I Do With…?” tool that helps you find a responsible way to dispose of any item. You can also find more ideas here. Or send me an email! I’ll track down an answer for you.

Cat DeLaura, Reporter


Austin From Above: One of our water treatment plants

Not the "sexiest" thing, we know. But we wrote last week about where Austin gets its water (the Colorado River) and how the city treats it so we can, you know, drink water and live.

Well, here's what one of Austin's three treatment plants looks like from above. This is the Ullrich plant, the largest of the bunch. It treats a whopping 167 million gallons a day.

It's just southwest of Hula Hut and Mozarts, if you're curious.

We won't bore you with the tiny deets on water purification and whatnot, but just know that before you fill your water bottle up, this is where it hangs out for a bit.


🤲 Time For Breakfast


Today's clue is for 13 Across: it's a synonym for what almost everyone in Austin seems to own (hint: the answer outnumbered children almost two to one on the Eastside back in 2018).


Were so glad you found us. Find our bios and contact info here, or reach out at hello@austindaily.com. Behind todays send: Katie Canales, Cat DeLaura, Mary Wasson and Randi Stevenson.