by Donna Apidone
If a once-in-a-lifetime event was coming to our area, you’d want to be a part of it, right?
Bobby Dracon thought so. That’s why the Brecksville resident wrote a book in anticipation of an important date next spring.
There was genuine awe in his voice as he explained. “It is, truly, a rare and captivating event,” he said.
“EclipseChronicles” tells us what to expect on April 8, 2024, as northeast Ohio witnesses a total solar eclipse.
“It will turn day into night for five to seven minutes, even if it’s cloudy,” he said. The cover design of the book bears out Dracon’s claim.
There was an eclipse in 2017, but that was only a partial blocking of the sun in our part of the state. Such events, called annular eclipses, occur every 18 months or so, but a total solar eclipse is unique.
The last time northeast Ohioans had access to a total eclipse was in 1806, and the next one won’t occur until 2444.
“Birds will stop chirping. You’ll start to hear nighttime sounds,” Dracon said.
If you think it all sounds apocalyptic, you are not alone. For millennia, people worried a solar eclipse was the end of the world. Dracon’s book discusses how ancient cultures explained the uncommon and frightening darkness in the middle of the day.
In China, where eclipses have been recorded for more than 4,000 years, folklore claims the event is caused by a dragon eating the sun. It is generally seen as a bad omen, especially when unpredicted.
The ancient Greeks provided us with the word eclipse, which mean disappearance or abandonment. The culture recorded movements of sun and moon and developed a formula to predict an eclipse.
Dracon also outlines some current metaphysical interpretations, including spiritual awakening and a shift in energetic vibrations and frequencies.
We have the benefit of science unknown to the ancients. For one thing, we know the danger of looking directly at a solar eclipse. Although the sky darkens during the event, the brightness of the sun can cause blindness.
Dracon provides plenty of methods to safely view the April 8 event. Some techniques are old school, such as looking at a reflection of the sun in a darkened box. Updated versions involve digital technology.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration studies the impact of the phenomena on people, animals, weather and technology. Scientific forecasting of eclipses is a part of NASA’s work.
Not all eclipses are alike, however. The book gives details about the frequency and types of occurrences. Solar eclipses fall into categories of total, annular, partial and hybrid, all of which are explained in detail in Dracon’s book. Lunar eclipses have their own variants – total, partial and penumbral.
Each eclipse is visible in a limited region, due to the angle of the Earth at that moment. And, Dracon said, part of the mystique of eclipses is that they are memorable occasions.
“Whatever significance the total solar eclipse has for you,” he wrote, “it will surely lead you to a brighter future.”
Dracon, 63, is a native of northeast Ohio resident who has lived in Brecksville since 1996. Although he wrote Eclipse Chronicles, you won’t find that name on the book’s cover. His pen name, R.G. Drakonakis, incorporates his initials with his family’s ancestral surname.
Families can play a role during the 2024 eclipse. By making it a shared experience, younger generations might launch a lifelong interest in the science of space. It started early for Dracon.
“I’ve always had an interest in astronomy in general, and I can trace that back to the summer of 1969.” That’s when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. Bobby, age 9, was hooked. For a time, he considered a career in meteorology.
He chose a different direction. After a career in commercial banking, Dracon accepted a position six years ago in business development with Pease Bell, a CPA firm based in downtown Cleveland.
You won’t find him at the office on April 8, 2024. He will be pursuing his passion for the movement of orbs in the sky by safely watching northeast Ohio’s total eclipse of the sun. ∞