Totally not looking for totality


Does anyone not know there is going to be a total eclipse in parts of Ohio on April 8? I did look up the details of the event, and its location is listed as Earth. Fortunately, I’m going to be on Earth that day, at least I hope so.

More precisely, there will be a total eclipse in some areas encompassing Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. The contiguous 48 states in the U.S. will all be able to view a percentage of the eclipse at some point.

An eclipse happens when the moon moves into the path of the light from the sun, blocking it from reaching Earth. Everything gets dark in the middle of the day. In olden times people were very fearful about an eclipse, but thankfully, we now know better.

The media started hyping this event about a year ago. Can you ever remember when an event that was scheduled to last less than four minutes attracted so much attention? Schools are closing, eclipse festivals are going on across the country, total eclipse T-shirts are already on sale and one television station even featured an eclipse countdown on its news broadcast.

I get it. According to my research, the last total eclipse in Ohio was in 1806, and the next one won’t happen again until 2099, so for a lot of us, this is our last chance. I’m happy people are wising up to the allure of natural phenomena and not man-made tourist trap areas.

Still, would all this hoopla be going on if there was not money to be made?

I can remember watching at least a couple eclipses of varying degrees in my lifetime. One time when I was a kid, we made an eclipse viewer from a cardboard box. We cut a small rectangular hole in the box, covered it with a piece of foil taped to the box, poked a hole in the foil and taped a piece of white paper on the opposite side of the box.

All you have to do is aim the hole side of the box toward the sun and then you look down at the white paper to view the eclipse. Do not look at the sun. I’m sure everyone has heard that by now too, but it bears repeating — do not look at the sun.

For those taking photos of the eclipse, a special camera filter lens is needed too, or you could damage your equipment.

A few (really long few) years ago, Joe and I were camping when a partial eclipse occurred, and I sat and watched the whole thing from start to finish with my eclipse glasses. It was really cool. It’s not every day you see an eclipse. Yes, I am easily entertained.

The warnings for people to avoid driving during the eclipse should be followed. Have you seen other people drive when there is not an eclipse? Horrible big-city driving is spreading into our area more and more. We were almost victims of another driver’s failure to yield ourselves recently.

Our home is not in the area of totality, but it’s going to be good enough for me. I’ll watch the real total eclipse later on television and whatever we are going to get in Tuscarawas County from my backyard.

Here is the eclipse information from the Eclipse Explorer by NASA for New Philadelphia. The partial eclipse will begin at 1:58 p.m., a 99.3% eclipse of the sun will begin at 3:15 p.m. for a few minutes and the eclipse will end at 4:28 p.m.

We will not see a total eclipse, but it will still be worth watching. And we are not crazy enough to go to an area of totality with a half a million visitors expected to visit the 124-mile-wide strip of totality slicing through Ohio.

And lastly, kudos to the extremely smart people who figure these things out. I don’t know how they do it. Because if it was up to me, nobody would know about the eclipse until it was over.

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