Total Eclipse of the Sun 2024

The countdown is on. As of this morning, we are just 3 days away from a total solar eclipse here in west central Ohio.

By now, probably everyone has heard about the total solar eclipse that will occur this coming Monday, 8 April 2024. We are in the best viewing path of the eclipse, running from Mexico, Texas, and northeast through Maine. Communities such as ours have been planning and gearing up for the event for a couple years. Large numbers of people are expected to travel to areas such as ours, where the eclipse will be most visible.

This will be the longest and most visible eclipse to the U.S. in 100 years. In Celina it all begins at 1:53 p.m. The maximum view will be at 3:10 p.m. and it will end at 4:25. The duration will be 2 hours and 31 minutes, with totality for nearly 4 minutes.

My Aunt Ruth (1919-2020), my dad’s sister, once told me that she viewed an eclipse with her aunt, Clara (Miller) Reef, using a piece of smoked glass that Clara had made. Clara likely blackened the glass with lamp smoke, the safest way to view an eclipse then, probably sometime between 1925-1935. That smoked glass is what people used in their attempt to safely view the solar eclipse years ago, when solar protective gear was not available.

From the Van Wert Weekly Bulletin, 6 August 1869:

Get Your Glasses Ready
It is well known that the solar eclipse can be better observed through a piece of smoked glass than with the naked eye. Those, therefore, who are not provided with properly colored glasses for use with instruments, will do well to prepare in this way for a view of this most interesting phenomenon.

From the Van Wert Daily Bulletin, 29 Jun 1908:

Partial Eclipse of the Sun Viewed by Many Van Werters–Interesting Street Talk
Many Van Werters availed themselves of the opportunity of the witnessing the partial eclipse of the sun, Sunday morning. By the aid of smoked glass the phenomena was discerned and practically on the moment announced by the astronomers. The first contact occurred shortly after eight o’clock, within seconds of the predicted time, and the image of the sun was perfect at that time, there being no clouds to obstruct the view. The second or last contact, which marked the disappearance, took place twenty-three seconds ahead of the predicted time.

For the 2024 eclipse many local communities provided free eclipse glasses, approved to safely view the eclipse. We got ours at the Rockford Library and looking through them is like looking through thick black cellophane. You can’t see anything. That is evidently what you want because there are unapproved glasses out there, too.

Approved 2024 Solar Eclipse glasses.

The markings on these glasses show they are made in the U.S.A. and approved for safely viewing the eclipse. 




There are a number of solar eclipse events planned in this area for the historic eclipse, although officials are warning locals that there may be an influx of people into the area to view the event. We plan to watch it from home, but an eclipse party is nothing new. These young folks from Pleasant Township, Van Wert County, had a lunar eclipse party in 1889:

Pleasant Party
Twenty young men gave very enjoyable party to their lady friends Wednesday evening, in honor of the lunar eclipse. There were only twelve dances on the programme and the party consequently ended shortly before midnight. Heistand’s orchestra furnished the music. It was the most delightful event of the season. —Van Wert Times
, 18 January 1889.

Hundreds of years can pass between total solar eclipses, but the most recent in the U.S. was 21 August 2017. Having two total solar eclipses in seven years is unusual. However, 2017 eclipse took a different path across the country, from Oregon to South Carolina, and lasted 2½ minutes. I remember how strange the afternoon looked during that eclipse. Monday’s eclipse should be even more dramatic, if the weather cooperates.

Historically, one of the most well-known total solar eclipses occurred in Ohio on 16 June 1806 and was predicted by Tenskwatawa, The Prophet, the brother of Shawnee chief Tecumseh. Tenskwatawa, residing near Greenville, Ohio, at the time, predicted that the sun would turn black on 16 June 1806. It did just that and his prediction greatly increased his credibility.

I looked through my family databases to see if anyone in the family was born on the day of an eclipse, but no one was.

So, on Monday, get your eclipse glasses out and enjoy the show in the sky. After all, most of us won’t be around for the next local total solar eclipse in 2099.  


    • Linda Duff on April 9, 2024 at 4:13 pm
    • Reply

    Hi Karen, I traveled to Chatt hundreds of times when I was still living with my parents. Is the road named for the Strabel family? Curious!

    1. I’m pretty sure the road was named after them. That was usually the case with those road names back then and it is nice that the names still remain and are a reminder of the families who once lived there. (BTW, three comments came through and I deleted 2 of them.) Great to hear from you!

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