Saturday, June 8, 2024

Photos: Total Solar Eclipse Viewed in Cleveland


Totality Phase of the Total Solar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Sun, as seen at the Total Eclipse Fest 2024 at the Great Lakes Science Center / NASA Glenn Research Center Visitors' Center, along the Lake Erie Waterfront in Downtown Cleveland. This photograph was taken on Monday Afternoon, 2024 April 8 at 3:15 p.m. EDT / 19:15 UTC. Camera used: Apple I-Phone 12-Mini, using application: "Solar Snap".

(Image Source: Friends of the Zeiss, Photographer: Jim McKee)

Photographs of all stages of this Total Solar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Sun can be found at the following Internet link:

Link >>>

By Glenn A. Walsh

Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

Two months ago, on Monday, 2024 April 8, one of the greatest coincidences in nature occurred: a Total Solar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Sun, when the Moon completely blocks the view of the entire surface of the Sun, the only time which allows a safe view of the Sun's upper atmosphere known as the Corona. The Cleveland Metropolitan Area was one of a select group of urban centers that was within the Path of Totality of this Total Solar Eclipse. And, it just so happens that Cleveland is also home to a major NASA research center, the NASA John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field, which hosted a large public Eclipse watch at Cleveland's Great Lakes Science Center.

During a Total Solar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Sun, the Moon completely obscures the surface of the Sun; it is only during the short time when the surface of the Sun is completely blocked from view (for the April 8 Eclipse: a maximum of approximately 4 minutes and 28 seconds - for some areas it was less time: 3 minutes and 49 seconds in Cleveland) that the Eclipse can be viewed without safety equipment. And during this time, often the Solar Corona (outermost layer of the Sun's atmosphere, which is safe to look at so long as the rest of the Sun's surface is blocked from view) can be seen around the shadow outline of the Moon, and planets and stars can also sometimes be seen at this time. Birds and wildlife often begin nighttime behaviors and the air, no longer heated by the Sun, feels cooler.

The coincidence in nature of a Total Solar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Sun is due to the fact that the Sun is approximately 400 times larger than the Moon, but the Sun is also about 400 times further from the Moon. Hence, during a Total Solar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Sun, the Moon and Sun appear roughly the same size as we view the two objects in the sky, even though the Sun is much, much larger than the Moon.

A select number of metropolitan areas were included in the Path of Totality for the April 8 Eclipse. These included the metropolitan areas of Little Rock, Indianapolis, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Akron, Cleveland, Dayton, Toledo, Erie, Austin, Dallas / Fort Worth, Burlington, and Montreal. However, Cleveland is the only city on this list that includes a NASA Research Center, one of 10 major NASA research centers across the United States.

The NASA Visitors' Center for the Glenn Research Center is now sited within the Great Lakes Science Center. The Great Lakes Science Center is located on Downtown Cleveland's Lake Erie waterfront (known as the North Coast Harbor), between the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame and the Cleveland Browns National Football League Stadium.

For the Total Solar Eclipse on April 8, NASA organized a huge viewing event on the south side of the Great Lakes Science Center, which was free-of-charge to the general public. Titled “Total Eclipse Fest 2024” and described by NASA as a “free, outdoor, family-friendly science and arts festival”, the event featured free concerts, performances, speakers, and hands-on science activities for children. Some of the exhibit stations / tents included virtual and augmented simulations including flying in a supersonic airplane, walking on Mars, and visiting the International Space Station.

Total Eclipse Fest 2024 was actually a three-day weekend event (2024 April 6 to 8), which included a free-of-charge concert by The Cleveland Orchestra as well as free-of-charge admission to the Great Lakes Science Center, both on Sunday, April 7. This festival was also host to NASA Television's live coverage of the Total Solar Eclipse, on April 8 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT) / 17:00 to 20:00 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), from a stage near the exhibit tents.


Photograph of a Moon Rock collected by Apollo astronauts (1969 to 1972).
This Moon Rock is displayed in the NASA Glenn Research Center's educational
exhibit trailer, "Journey to Tomorrow", which was part of the NASA Village during the Total Eclipse Fest 2024 on Monday, 2024 April 8.
(Image Source: Friends of the Zeiss, Photographer:
Pittsburgh-area Free-Lance Photographer Lynne S. Walsh)
Other NASA Moon Rock Exhibits: Link >>>
Images of other NASA exhibits at the Total Eclipse Fest 2024: Link >>>

The heart of the event was NASA Village, which consisted of 11 educational exhibit stations / outdoor tents plus a large educational trailer (“Journey to Tomorrow”), which highlighted much of the research occurring at the NASA Glenn Research Center:

  1. NASA Village Welcome Center – Where NASA bags and backpacks were handed-out, free-of-charge.

  2. Exploring the Moon – This showed NASA work to 3-D map the Moon and provide power to future Moon exploration.

  3. Rovers and Wheels – Which showed a full-scale replica of an Apollo-era Lunar Rover wheel (in 1971, Apollo 15 was the first mission to use a Lunar Rover on the Moon, with astronauts Dave Scott and Pittsburgh native James Irwin), as well as a full-scale model of the NASA VIPER Rover (which will be launched on the Griffin Lander produced by Pittsburgh's Astrobotic Technology, Inc.) which will soon be sent to the Moon to search for ice and other resources near the lunar South Pole.

  4. Artemis: To the Moon and Beyond – Includes information on how the NASA Glenn Research Center is providing expertise in power and propulsion systems for the Artemis and Orion spacecraft designed to take humans (including the first woman and first person of color) back to the Moon, and the Lunar Gateway Space Station being designed for lunar orbit.

  5. Living and Working in Space – Visitors learned about how astronauts live, work, and conduct experiments in Outer Space, including on the International Space Station.

  6. Meet and Greet – NASA Astronauts Stephen Bowen and Jessica Watkins were available for greeting visitors and for selfie photographs. Also for children, Snoopy, the beagle from the famous Peanuts comic strip and animated television specials, made an appearance in a NASA Artemis flight suit, decked-out in Solar Eclipse Glasses!

  7. Eclipse Glasses – NASA Solar Eclipse Glasses were handed-out, free-of-charge.,

  8. Cleaner Aviation – Showed how NASA uses wind tunnels to simulate flight conditions while testing aircraft and spacecraft models. This area also showed one of the engines, the High-Efficiency Megawatt Motor (HEMM), the NASA Glenn Research Center has designed and is testing to meet the needs of electrified aircraft propulsion.

  9. Air Taxis and Drones – This tent included an Air Taxi virtual reality demonstrator. A hands-on activity also showed how vertical take-off and landing works.

  10. Quesst: Quiet Supersonic Flight – This area showed a model of the NASA X-59 experimental aircraft, which demonstrated supersonic flight without loud sonic booms.

  11. Eclipses and Solar Science – This area talked about why NASA studies the Sun and its influences on the Earth.

  12. NASA Glenn Research Center's 53-foot Educational Traveling Exhibit Trailer: "Journey to Tomorrow" – Includes 8 interactive kiosks (in both English and Spanish languages) with NASA educational exhibits, including a Moon rock collected by Apollo astronauts. As described on the NASA web-site, this traveling exhibit includes: ~Improving Today’s Flight, NASA Home and City which highlights spinoff products created from NASA’s research programs, Sci-Fi vs. Science Fact, Brain Bites that explain common questions people have about air and space travel, a lunar landing simulator, and Dynamic Planet, a hands-on interactive that allows you to explore the Earth, Sun, and Solar System. Additional workstations include glove-box activities, a planetary gravity demonstrator, and a solar system scale where visitors can find out how much they would weigh on the moon and each of the planets. A display case features models that keep the learning in three dimensions.”

The exhibit tents included educational exhibits about NASA and space exploration, with NASA staff to help explain NASA projects. Most of these educational exhibit tents provided the public with NASA posters, space photographs, science-themed postcards, pins, and stickers as well as NASA hand-outs with educational activities for children, other educational hand-outs, and informational hand-outs regarding the research being conducted at the NASA Glenn Research Center, all free-of-charge. Some children were quite interested in the NASA posters.

Of course, the focal point of all of these activities was the Total Solar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Sun, which would pass over this site on Monday Afternoon, April 8. On the morning of April 8, weather was iffy. Clouds and some drizzle and rain occurred in the early morning hours. However, as meteorologists had predicted, the sky started clearing around 10:00 in the morning, and the rest of the day was sunny, except of course for the ~four minutes of the Totality Phase of the Total Solar Eclipse.

NASA provided free-of-charge Solar Eclipse Glasses to everyone. So, when the Solar Eclipse began at 1:59:22 p.m. EDT / 17:59:22 UTC, people put on their Solar Eclipse Glasses as they started watching the Moon slowly obscure the light from the Sun (NASA Television had started live coverage at 1:00 p.m. EDT / 17:00 UTC). More attention was payed to the sky as the Totality Phase grew closer.

A loud roar from the thousands in attendance at the event came with the beginning of the Totality Phase at 3:13:46 p.m. EDT / 19:13:46 UTC. During Totality, the outdoor temperature was briefly cooler, and the area became dark, similar to dusk, as street-lights came on. This was the only time people could safely remove their Solar Eclipse Glasses, but only for the 3 minutes and 49 seconds of Totality. Along with the Solar Corona, the Sun's upper atmosphere, seen around the edge of the Moon, the planet Venus was visible near the Eclipsed Sun.

The maximum of Totality for the 3-minute, 49-second event came at 3:15 p.m. EDT / 19:15 UTC, with the Totality Phase ending at 3:17:35 p.m. EDT / 19:17:35 UTC. The Great Lakes Science Center temporarily closed during Totality, so the Science Center staff could view the Total Solar Eclipse.

After the end of Totality, people had to put Solar Eclipse Glasses back on to see the rest of the Solar Eclipse, as the Moon began to move away and expose more and more of the surface of the Sun. The entire Solar Eclipse ended at 4:29:00 p.m. EDT / 20:29:00 UTC.  In Cleveland, the entire Solar Eclipse lasted 2 hours and 30 minutes.

This event was well attended by thousands of people from throughout the Northeastern Ohio area, as well as some people coming from Western Pennsylvania and other states including Connecticut, Georgia, and Florida. As can be expected in today's world, people entering the special event area needed to go through a metal detector and have their bags inspected.

To reach the event, many people used RTA Rapid Transit, to avoid parking problems near the Great Lakes Science Center. For Cleveland's Bicentennial in 1996, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) opened a 2.2-mile Light Rail Rapid Transit Line from Tower City (Cleveland's Downtown Subway Hub Station, located below the historic Terminal Tower building) to the lake-front. This includes the North Coast Harbor rail station near the Great Lakes Science Center. This rail line operates mostly during special events and sometimes on weekends. For the Total Solar Eclipse event at the Great Lakes Science Center, this rail line ran from 9:30 a.m. to 5:27 p.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT) / 13:30 to 21:27 UTC.

As with many special events, people were able to purchase T-shirts commemorating the April 8 Total Solar Eclipse. Non-profit Vitalant, which collects blood from volunteer donors and provides blood and blood products to hospitals across the country, provided free-of-charge Solar Eclipse Glasses and commemorative T-shirts to people who donated blood between March 3 and 16.

In addition to live Eclipse coverage by NASA Television, several mobile television trucks were on-site, including from a couple Cleveland television stations: WKYC-TV 3 (NBC) and WEWS-TV 5 (ABC). The event was also attended by Jeff Mason, White House Correspondent for the Reuters Wire Service.

Additionally, a film crew from the IMAX Corporation filmed the event for a future IMAX film.

At the end of the event and when the Great Lakes Science Center was closing at 5:00 p.m. EDT / 21:00 UTC, one more event for people interested in astronomy occurred in the Science Center's Cleveland Clinic Dome Theater (Omnimax theater). A screening of the world premiere of the documentary film, “Small Town Universe”, was a presentation of the 48th Annual Cleveland International Film Festival. This film, free-of-charge to the general public, documented the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, West Virginia and the recent controversy when the National Science Foundation considered defunding the Observatory; fortunately, it was not defunded. Following the film, there was a question-and-answer session with the film's director, Katie Dellamagiorre, and several people profiled in the film, including the featured subject, Ellie White.

Originally, the NASA Glenn Research Center's Visitors' Center was located on the campus of the research center, which is located close to the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. In the early 1990s, NASA considered expanding the size of this Visitors' Center. At this time, the Buhl Science Center in Pittsburgh was in the process of planning construction of a new science center building on the North Shore of the Ohio River, which became The Carnegie Science Center in 1991; due to a recent $65 million donation, this building will soon be renamed the Daniel G. and Carole L. Kamin Science Center.

So, several NASA Visitors' Center staff members visited the Buhl Science Center, to learn more about the Pittsburgh expansion project. The author, Glenn A. Walsh, gave some of these staff members a tour of the Buhl Science Center's Third Floor Observatory, including the historic 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope. Eventually, NASA decided not to expand the Visitors' Center on-site, but rather to incorporate the Visitors' Center within the Great Lakes Science Center in 2010.

This Total Solar Eclipse, viewed at the Great Lakes Science Center / NASA Visitors' Center, was attended by Friends of the Zeiss members Lynne S. Walsh, Jim McKee, and Glenn A. Walsh. Friends of the Zeiss is a non-profit organization with a mission which supports public education of astronomy, space sciences, and other sciences. The organization also promotes the history and preservation of the historic equipment, artifacts, and building of Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science / Buhl Science Center.

Thirty years ago, another Solar Eclipse traversed the United States in a path similar to the path of the 2024 April 8 Total Solar Eclipse. On 1994 May 10, an Annular Solar Eclipse / Annular Eclipse of the Sun, which was precluded from being a Total Solar Eclipse because the Moon was farther from Earth than usual (and, hence, appeared too small to completely cover all of the surface of the Sun), also passed over Cleveland and Erie, Pennsylvania.

During an Annular Solar Eclipse, the Moon covers most of the surface of the Sun, but a small sliver of the surface of the Sun (the Annulus or “Ring of Fire”), which circles the Moon, is still visible. Hence, there is no time when it is safe to view an Annular Solar Eclipse without Solar Eclipse Glasses or other eye protection methods.

Friends of the Zeiss Steering Committee members John D. Weinhold and Glenn A. Walsh viewed this Annular Solar Eclipse, with many others, at the Mercyhurst University Observatory in the Borough of North East, Erie County, Pennsylvania. While the Mercyhurst University Observatory was located within the path of the Annular Solar Eclipse (Path of Annularity), on-site observations confirmed that the center line of the Eclipse was actually in the middle of Lake Erie.

Today, June 8, also marks the 20th anniversary of the first of two rare Transits of the Planet Venus across the Sun in the 21st century. Friends of the Zeiss sponsored the only public viewing event of the 2004 June 8 Transit of Venus within the City of Pittsburgh (from the Mount Washington Observation Deck of The Duquesne Incline).

Internet Links to Additional Information ---

Solar Eclipse / Eclipse of the Sun: Tips for Safe Viewing:

Link >>>

ADDENDUM: Photographs - All stages of 2024 April 8 Total Solar Eclipse / Total Eclipse of the Sun, as well as events and exhibits by NASA, at the Total Eclipse Fest 2024 in Cleveland, can be found at the following Internet link:

Link >>>

NASA Total Eclipse Fest 2024, Cleveland, Map of NASA Village Tents and Topics:

Link >>>

Annular Solar Eclipse of 1994 May 10 -

Link 1 (Cleveland): >>>

Link 2 (Erie): >>>

Apollo 15 Astronaut & Pittsburgh Native James Irwin:

Link >>>

NASA VIPER Moon Rover to be Launched on Pittsburgh's Astrobotic Griffin Lander:

Link >>>

Related Blog-Posts ---

"U.S. Solar Eclipse April 8: Prepare for Safe Viewing." Mon. 2024 March 18.

"Great American Solar Eclipse Next Monday: Some Ways to See It Safely." Mon. 2017 Aug. 14.

"Public Observing Session of Transit of Venus Across Image of Sun, Pittsburgh - 2004 June 8." (2024 June 8: 20th Anniversary}

Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss     

               "Photos: Total Solar Eclipse Viewed in Cleveland"

                  Saturday, 2024 June 8.

            Artificial Intelligence not used in the writing or production of this article.

            © Copyright 2024 Glenn A. Walsh, All Rights Reserved

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Glenn A. Walsh, Informal Science Educator & Communicator                                                             (For more than 50 years! - Since Monday Morning, 1972 June 12):
Link >>>
Electronic Mail: < >
Project Director, Friends of the Zeiss: Link >>>
SpaceWatchtower Editor / Author: Link >>>
Formerly Astronomical Observatory Coordinator & Planetarium Lecturer, original Buhl Planetarium & Institute of Popular Science (a.k.a. Buhl Science Center), America's fifth major planetarium and Pittsburgh's science & technology museum from 1939 to 1991.
Formerly Trustee, Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall, Pittsburgh suburb of Carnegie, Pennsylvania, the fourth of only five libraries where both construction and endowment funded by famous industrialist & philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh: Link >>> Buhl Observatory: Link >>>
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago: Link >>>
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear: Link >>>
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries: Link >>>

 * Other Walsh-Authored Blog & Web-Sites: Link >>>

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