A Total Eclipse of the Park

On April 8, 2024, an incredible astronomical event will affect over 32 million people in the United States, and here in Ohio and Great Parks of Hamilton County we are lucky enough to be included! A Total Solar Eclipse will occur, and the moon’s shadow will be cast upon the Earth in a path from Texas to Maine. At Great Parks, we are hosting three viewing sites for the eclipse – more on that below.

Although a total eclipse takes place somewhere on earth approximately every year and a half, its path across the globe varies each time. North America will not experience another total eclipse until 2044, and Ohio will not be in the path again until 2099.

This map illustrates the path of the Moon’s shadow across the U.S. during the 2024 total solar eclipse. Map photo source: NASA SVS | The 2024 Total Solar Eclipse

Eclipse Basics

So, what is an eclipse? An eclipse occurs when the light from one celestial object is partially or totally blocked out by another. It is important to note that the moon does not produce its own light—it reflects the sun’s light. There are two types of eclipses – lunar and solar.

A lunar eclipse takes place when the Earth orbits between the sun and the moon and casts a shadow on the moon. During a lunar eclipse, the moon appears to have a deep reddish glow instead of the bright white coloration we are most familiar with. On average, there are two lunar eclipses per year. And since the Earth is so large compared to the moon, its shadow is large enough to be seen by nearly an entire hemisphere.

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon orbits between the sun and the Earth and casts a shadow on the Earth. Solar eclipses are rarer because the path is significantly narrower compared to a lunar eclipse. A lunar eclipse will last for several hours, whereas the totality of a solar eclipse, when the moon totally blocks the sun, will last for just a few minutes. Both types are spectacular to witness.


This composite image shows the progression of a total solar eclipse over Madras, Oregon, on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. A total solar eclipse swept across a narrow portion of the contiguous United States from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani


When viewing an eclipse, it is important to understand the proper safety measures that should be taken to protect your eyes. Never look directly at the sun without proper eye protection, and check with a trustworthy source such as NASA for this and other safety guidelines. Lunar eclipses can be viewed with the naked eye and safety glasses are not needed. However, for solar eclipses, like the one on April 8, 2024, it is essential to have the correct certified safety glasses if you wish to directly look up at the sun.

These glasses should be worn while looking towards the sun from the beginning of the eclipse event, at 1:51 p.m. and leading up to the totality event at 3:08 p.m. If your viewing site is in the path of totality, safety glasses can be removed briefly at 3:08 p.m. when the moon completely covers the sun. As soon as the sun begins to appear again, the glasses should be put back on until the eclipse event completely concludes at approximately 4:24 p.m.

Note that these times are specific to the timeline of the eclipse passing over Harrison, Ohio, where Great Parks will be hosting a large gathering the day of the eclipse at Miami Whitewater Forest. Great Parks will also host satellite viewing events at Parky’s Farm and Sharon Woods, although these sites will not experience totality. To see the eclipse timeline for your zip code, visit 2024 Solar Eclipse Lookup Tool – Eclipse Soundscapes. If you are unable to get your hands on a pair of glasses in time for the event, you can use an indirect viewing method instead of looking directly at the sun. For more information on certified glasses and indirect methods of viewing, visit this safety page on nasa.gov.

Viewing Opportunities

Many cities and parks along the path of totality are planning viewing gatherings.

For Great Parks viewing opportunities of the April 8, 2024, Total Solar Eclipse, visit our eclipse page for event information, maps, and FAQ.