Total solar eclipse set to take place April 8

By Ricky Mast,

Final touches on the work to prepare Findlay for the total solar eclipse and its effects are in full swing. The eclipse is expected to draw in many visitors who wish to observe the event to enjoy the full experience of a total eclipse.

On April 8, 2024 at 3:10 p.m., Findlay will experience three minutes and 44 seconds of complete darkness as it is in the direct path of totality. This historic event is expected to draw in crowds in the thousands, which poses many concerns for the area.

“Our safety services of Findlay along with the county started preparing for this about two years ago,” project manager of Findlay Jaclyn Hohman said. “What we’ve done is given that we can’t fully predict how many people are going to be here, we’ve tried to talk to other communities that experienced this.”

This is the first time since 1806 that Ohio will experience a total solar eclipse. The Moon will move directly into the sun’s path, completely blocking it, causing totality. It’s important to wear eye protection for most of the eclipse, however, unlike a non-total eclipse, they are not required to witness complete totality.

This will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many people to experience a total solar eclipse, according to Ohio-based astronomy educator Jay Ryan. Ryan spoke at the solar eclipse event that happened on Jan. 17. He believes that many people do not understand the rarity of this event and are taking this spectacle for granted.

“A total solar eclipse is the rarest event in nature, occurring in a given place every 343 years on average.” Ryan said. “It is also poorly understood and unappreciated by most people who believe it is just another ordinary partial eclipse like they have seen before, which they find unimpressive.”

Other states that were in the line of totality for past eclipses, such as Tennessee in 2017, experienced great financial profit, as well as expanding the cultural landscape of the cities due to the large crowds visiting for the eclipse. The influx of people will also positively contribute to Findlay’s local economy.

“I know that this has been a huge economic boost for a lot of communities that have experienced this previously,” Hohman stated. “So, that’s something that we’re really excited about and trying to encourage our businesses to take advantage of. Because at the end of the day, you know our job is to make sure that Findlay is safe; and we hope that the community takes the opportunity to really welcome in these new visitors and put a best foot forward for everyone to see.”

Professor at UF Dr. Steven Wild has been working on educating students and people in the community about the total solar eclipse. Outside of the excitement of the eclipse itself, there are also many opportunities to learn from and celebrate this eclipse.

“We have the last speaker I’m bringing in as part of the College of Science faculty chair talk, will be Scott Oldfield,” Wild said. “He will be coming Feb. 24, which is the Saturday before spring break.”

The University of Findlay will also be a host site on April 8 for the community to come and safely view the total solar eclipse. More information can be viewed on the Hancock County Findlay Eclipse website.