By: Yvette Cook | From: BBC Sky At Night

It’s Sunday evening and the Sun is just beginning to set in San Antonio, Texas and the city is feverish with excitement about tomorrow’s total eclipse.

Around 32 million people live along the path of the April 8 total solar eclipse and will see day plunged into night as the Moon blocks out the Sun's disk.

The solar eclipse will start over the Pacific Ocean and sweep north-eastwards, making landfall on Mexico’s Pacific Coast at 17:07 UTC.

As the Moon’s shadow gets larger, the maximum duration of totality (known as the tipping point) will occur in Durango, Mexico for an eye-popping 4 minutes 28 seconds.

Moving into Texas and across Arkansas, Ohio, New England, the shadow will exit North America at Newfoundland on the east coast of Canada at 18:43 UTC.

If you’re in western parts of the UK and Ireland the April 8 solar eclipse will technically be visible, as you may just see a partial eclipse in the final 20 minutes before sunset if Storm Kathleen’s clouds clear.

Just remember not to stare directly into the Sun, even if partially eclipsed, without proper protective equipment such as solar filters or eclipse glasses.

Earlier this year, the American Astronomical Association put out information and advice on how to make sure your eclipse glasses are safe.

The eclipse experience

Here in San Antonio, the city is buzzing and every conversation starts with the eclipse; about where people are intending to watch it, the traffic conditions or the weather forecast.

Yet dig deeper and many are talking about the ‘experience’ being just as important as the event - from sharing this special moment in a quiet space with their friends and family, to joining one of the many eclipse parties and events across Texas.

I must admire one resident who will be driving in the opposite direction to most people, away from the central axis of the eclipse where he lives, to join friends and work colleagues in San Antonio, on the edge of the zone of totality.

On Monday morning, April 8, I’m catching a 6am bus to the small city of Kerrville.

Using an interactive map, I’ve worked out that totality will be 4 minutes 25 seconds and I’m almost on the central axis of the eclipse.

This hasn’t been my only consideration for choosing the city.

As anyone who joined me beneath the clouds for the UK’s 1999 solar eclipse will know, the weather is the one thing we can’t control.

However, thanks to the Eclipsophile website, which analyses everything from historical data to topography to the impact of El Niño, I’ve placed myself in the location with the best chance of clear skies in the USA.

Coincidentally, NASA agrees and Kerrville is one of its three partner locations, which means public telescopes, speakers and live music will be adding to the excitement.

So, it is unfortunate that the April 8 eclipse weather forecasts are showing 60-80% cloud coverage in Texas, although with a bit of luck the weather gods will smile at us and give us a magical glimpse.

In my bag I have all the essentials for eclipse viewing with nothing more important than my eclipse glasses, which I last used on the Oregon plains in 2017.

I’ve packed a white sheet to look for the mysterious shadow bands just before and after totality, together with a colander to project the shadows of the eclipse.

Find out more about this in our guide on how to safely view a solar eclipse.

My binoculars are with me too, on the small chance I spot prominences during totality.

It's technically safe to observe the Sun with binoculars during totality, at the point when the Sun is completely obscured by the Moon, but you should only do this if you really know what you are doing.

And I’ve also packed a small camera and tripod to capture the sounds and sights of eclipse watchers.

All I need to hope for now is that the bus service from San Antonio delivers the same level of precision as the Sun and the Moon and gets me to the eclipse on time.

Wish me luck!