Northeast Ohio prepares for total solar eclipse

by Dan Holland

Residents of Northeast Ohio will be looking skyward on April 8, when a total solar eclipse passes over the area. Totality will begin at approximately 3:13 p.m.

A number of municipalities, astronomy groups, school districts and other entities are planning ahead for the event, with a number of local school districts, including Brecksville-Broadview Heights, Hudson, Independence, Nordonia Hills and Revere closing that day to allow students to take part in the once-in-a-lifetime event. 

A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon casts a shadow on Earth, obscuring the sun. Totality will last three to four minutes, depending on how near or far one is from the center path.

A partial eclipse, which will be visible prior to and after totality, will begin around 2 p.m. and end around 4:30 p.m. During that time, only specially designed ISO-rated solar glasses should be worn to observe the phenomenon.

The eclipse can only be viewed with the naked eye during totality, when the moon completely obscures the sun.

The last total solar eclipse visible in Ohio occurred in 1806, with the next one not scheduled until 2099, according to This year’s eclipse will trace a path across Mexico, the U.S. and Canada from southwest to northeast. A partial solar eclipse was visible in Northeast Ohio in August 2017.

Macedonia resident Gene Zajac, who has been a NASA ambassador for 20 years, has been visiting local public libraries to present on the topic. He brings ISO-rated mylar material to his presentations to allow attendees to construct their own solar viewing glasses. He will be making a presentation at the Nordonia Hills branch library on Saturday, March 30.

The Independence branch library will also host an eclipse workshop on March 30 at 2 p.m. Registration is required.

Zajac, who traveled to Tennessee to view the total solar eclipse in 2017, talked about the cosmic phenomenon.

“Take a moment during the eclipse and look at the people around you; some people get emotional over it and cry,” he said. “The weather will get cooler, the sky will get darker, and it will seem like dusk all of a sudden – birds and animals will seem confused at that time.”

During the partial eclipse, viewers can use a colander or any other object with a pinhole to cast an image of the sun onto the ground. Some even use a mirror to project an image onto an outside wall, said Zajac.

Tens of thousands of visitors from outside the area are expected to flock to Northeast Ohio and other parts of Ohio for the event. A number of local municipalities are preparing for the influx with expanded safety forces and eclipse events scheduled for that day. Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Cleveland Metroparks, Summit Metro Parks and other open, public spaces are expected to be popular viewing sites.

April 8 community eclipse events

Brecksville will host an eclipse event at its Blossom Hill location for an afternoon of family fun, games, and activities. The city will be providing a limited number of viewing glasses. Plans are underway to bring in food trucks.

Broadview Heights is planning a watch event on the city campus that will include music and a supply of solar glasses. Residents are encouraged to bring a lawn chair or blanket.

Independence will host a Picnic in the Park at Elmwood Park that afternoon. Residents are invited to bring blankets, chairs and refreshments. Residents can reserve a pair of eclipse glasses through the Independence Community Services Department.

Sokol Greater Cleveland is hosting “A Cosmic Celebration,” from 1-5 p.m., at Bohemian National Hall, 4939 Broadway Ave., in Cleveland. Glasses will be provided to the first 200 guests. Bring your own lawn chair. The event will include a marionette performance, a solar talk, music and giveaways. For more information, visit

Although Cleveland Metroparks does not have a specific event planned on April 8, eclipse workshops and an eclipse speaker series will take place on various dates leading up to the event. For information, visit,

Cuyahoga Valley National Park does not have any specific events listed, but it encourages visitors to plan ahead and to expect heavy traffic and long waits on local roadways that day, according to

Local agencies have urged residents to stay home due to concerns about an influx of eclipse watchers to the area. 

For general information on the total solar eclipse, visit ∞