The day of Monday August 21 will feature a real treat — a solar eclipse visible (weather permitting!) across the United States. While Cleveland won’t be in the path of the total eclipse this time, we will see a partial eclipse where the Moon will cover up to 80% of the Sun’s face at maximum eclipse, so it should still be a fun sight to see!
The timing of the eclipse varies depending on where in the country you are viewing it, but here in Cleveland, the eclipse begins at 1:06pm, when the Moon will start to carve a “notch” in the Sun’s disk as it begins to move in front of the Sun. That notch will grow in size until maximum eclipse occurs at 2:31pm. After that, the Moon will start to uncover more and more of the Sun before the show is completely over at 3:51pm.
The CWRU Department of Astronomy will provide a few options to help people view the eclipse. First, we will hold an eclipse party in front of the Kelvin Smith Library, where we will have a telescope and many pairs of eclipse glasses to help you view the Sun. Second, we will open up the department’s 9.5″ telescope on the roof of AW Smith for people to come view the eclipse via telescope projection. Both sites will have astronomy faculty, staff, and students on hand to answer questions about the eclipse. (The event will happen even if its partially cloudy, but if it’s overcast and rainy, well, we can’t do much about that!)
If you’re viewing the eclipse on your own, the most important thing to remember is never stare directly at the Sun. It’s not that the Sun shoots out eclipse death-rays, or does anything different from normal — it’s never good to look directly at the Sun! It’s just that you are so much more tempted to look at it during an eclipse. And no, regular sunglasses don’t provide enough protection either.
So resist that temptation to “just look” and instead use a set of eclipse glasses or a pinhole projector. Pinhole projectors are easy to make (and are a great science project for kids), and instructions can be found at eclipse.aas.org/eye-safety/projection. A list of vendors for eclipse glasses can also be found at eclipse.aas.org/resources/solar-filters, although we recommend looking for them sooner rather than later, because they are sure to be a hot item in the days leading up to the eclipse!
There are sure to be plenty of other eclipse viewing parties as well. Here are a few in the Cleveland area that we can recommend:
Wherever you see it, enjoy the spectacle, but remember for us Clevelanders, its just the warm up. Seven years from now, on April 8 2024, there will be another solar eclipse across the US and on that day, the path of totality crosses right through Cleveland. So mark your calendars well in advance, you wont want to leave town then! But this year, please do join us at the Kelvin Smith library or atop AW Smith to enjoy the partial eclipse in store for us now.
Lots more information about the eclipse can be found at eclipse.aas.org. Let’s keep fingers crossed for clear skies!