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Viewing the Solar Eclipse in Ohio

Zahra wears special eyeglasses in order to view the eclipse safely. 

On April 8, parts of North America witnessed a rare total solar eclipse. A solar eclipse occurs when the Sun and Moon’s orbiting paths overlap. The Moon completely covers the face of the Sun, causing total darkness at midday.

The city of Cleveland, Ohio, was in the path of totality. According to NASA, the path ranged between 108 and 122 miles wide, stretching from Mexico, through the United States, to Canada. This year’s path of totality was wider than in the past, so more people were able to experience complete darkness at midday. Millions of others were able to witness a partial eclipse. 


Mike Gallagher, a longtime astronomy enthusiast, traveled from North Carolina to Ohio with his family in order to witness the total eclipse of the Sun.


In order to view 100% totality, many people traveled to areas on the path. The city of Cleveland estimated that thousands of visitors flocked to the area for the total eclipse. The Gallagher family traveled from Durham, North Carolina. They chose Cleveland because they are originally from the area. 

Mike Gallagher has been an astronomy enthusiast since high school. “It was amazing to experience something so powerful and cool with family, friends, and all of the people who came out to witness the event,” he said.

Gallagher brought his refracting telescope, which is similar to a magnifying glass but much more powerful. It had a solar filter lens in order to view the eclipse safely. He let others look through his telescope. Molly Gallagher, his daughter, described the excitement. “I saw dozens and dozens of people view the eclipse through my dad’s telescope,” she said. “No matter who the person was, or how old or young they were, they were awed and so stunned by what they saw.”

Visitors and locals attended one of several eclipse watch parties held throughout the city of Cleveland. Crocker Park, a shopping and commercial area in Westlake, sponsored a “Total Eclipse of the Park” watch party. Such events included food trucks, live music, and special lighting during the darkness of totality. 

Other locals chose to view the eclipse in their backyards with neighbors. The rare total eclipse created a sense of community nationwide, as people came together to watch the Moon gradually cover the Sun.

“As soon as the Moon eclipsed the Sun, everyone clapped together,” Mike Gallagher said. “The eclipse brought people from all over together in one shared moment of awe.”

For Gallagher, a long-time astronomy lover, it was thrilling to witness the total eclipse, but also to see such widespread excitement over astronomy. 


Top photo courtesy of the author; bottom photo: Molly M. Gallagher