On April 8, 2024, a total solar eclipse will be visible across wide swaths of Mexico and the United States. The eclipse is being called the “Great North American Eclipse,” and the path of totality is running right above Cleveland, Ohio.
So if you’re curious about the what, when, where, and how of experiencing the 2024 solar eclipse in Cleveland, read on!
What is a total solar eclipse?
A total solar eclipse is a phenomenon that occurs when the moon passes between the sun and Earth, lining up just right to completely block out the sun.
On Earth during a total solar eclipse, the sky darkens to the point of seeming like dusk or dawn, even though it may be mid-day. Viewers of a total solar eclipse will also be able to see the sun’s corona, or outer ring, which is normally not visible.
There are other types of solar eclipses, such as a partial solar eclipse and an annular solar eclipse. In these events, the moon still passes between the sun and Earth, but it does not completely block it out.
A total solar eclipse is considered to be a more rare and unique phenomenon since the sun is completely blocked out and only its corona is visible.
Where solar eclipses are visible is dependent on lots of factors, including the time of year and path of the sun and moon. The last time a total solar eclipse was visible over the contiguous United States was in 2017, and the next one won’t be until 2044!
When is the 2024 solar eclipse?
The 2024 solar eclipse will occur on Monday, April 8, 2024.
The partial eclipse will begin at 1:59 p.m. EDT and last until 4:29 p.m. EDT. During this time, you’ll be able to see the moon partially covering the sun.
But the four-minute window from 3:13 p.m. EDT until 3:17 p.m. EDT is when you’ll want to make sure you’re outside and ready to view the eclipse, because that’s when totality will occur. Totality is when the moon is completely covering the sun, and you can see the sun’s corona.
Again, in Cleveland, the optimal viewing time will be from 3:13 p.m. EDT until 3:17 p.m. EDT. (And that’s considered a LONG length of totality, so we’re lucky!)
What is the path of totality?
Cleveland is located directly in the path of totality for the 2024 solar eclipse. This path is typically only about 100 miles wide, and describes the area that will experience the total solar eclipse. (Outside of the path of totality, only a partial eclipse will be visible.)
In the case of the Great North American Eclipse, the path of totality will begin on the Pacific coast of Mexico and pass to the northeast, all the way up to Maine.
Only cities in the path of totality will experience the full solar eclipse.
In the United States, the path of totality will move through Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.
According to NASA, these are some of the cities that will be in the path of totality for the eclipse:
- Dallas, Texas
- Little Rock, Arkansas
- Evansville, Indiana
- Cleveland, Ohio
- Erie, Pennsylvania
- Buffalo, New York
- Burlington, Vermont
The solar eclipse will be viewable in Cleveland starting around mid-day, with totality occurring from 3:13 p.m. EDT until 3:17 p.m. EDT in the afternoon.
Is Cleveland a good place to watch the eclipse?
To be honest, Cleveland probably won’t be the number one spot eclipse-watchers will flock to for the 2024 total solar eclipse. Why? Because in order to fully see and enjoy the eclipse, you need clear skies. And northeast Ohio isn’t exactly well-known for its reliably clear skies in early April.
Having said that, though, the majority of cities in the US that the path of totality crosses will be facing the same issue in April 2024 – that’s just springtime for you.
If you already live in northeast Ohio, there’s no need to travel for the solar eclipse. We’ll just all cross our fingers for a clear day!
Tips for watching a total solar eclipse
Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re going to watch the solar eclipse in Cleveland:
1. You MUST wear eye protection
During a solar eclipse, it’s not safe to look directly at the sun, except for the brief minutes of totality when only the sun’s corona is visible. Look directly at the sun can cause severe eye damage, especially during an eclipse when you’ll probably be looking at it for a long time.
This means you’ll need a pair of eclipse glasses (the ones linked are by LUNT Solar Systems and are certified as safe) or a handheld solar viewing device. Regular sunglasses are not safe for viewing a solar eclipse.
You also cannot view a solar eclipse through binoculars or a camera lens. If you’re using binoculars or taking photos of the eclipse, you’ll need a special-purpose solar filter over the lens of your device to protect your eyes. (Looking through a lens with your eclipse glasses on is not recommended, as it’s not fully safe; a dedicated filter is much better.)
Find a full list of approved solar filters, viewers, and glasses here.
2. Get there early
The best time to arrive for the total solar eclipse is well before the period of totality. While the partial eclipse will begin at 1:59 p.m. EDT and last until 4:29 p.m., the four-minute window of 3:13 p.m. EDT until 3:17 p.m. EDT is when totality will occur.
It’s a good idea to get to your viewing location by 2:30 p.m. to make sure you don’t miss this rare and brief phenomenon.
Where to watch the solar eclipse in Cleveland
The good news for anyone planning to watch the total solar eclipse in Cleveland is that the path of the sun in early April and the timing of the eclipse (full totality above Cleveland will be from 3:13 p.m. EDT and 3:17 p.m. EDT) means that you should be able to get a decent view anywhere with an unobstructed view of the sky.
Having said that, though, the ideal place to be will likely be near the Lake Erie shore (or out on the water itself), since the exact center point of the path of totality will be over the water, and there might be a better chance of the skies being clear there.
Cleveland solar eclipse events
There likely will be several organized watch areas/parties in 2024, and we’ll update this post as we learn about them! For now, we know about these:
Total Eclipse Festival 2024 – Sponsored by the Great Lakes Science Center and NASA Glenn Research, this 3-day festival will take place at North Coast Harbor from April 6-8. There will be entertainment, science activities, food vendors, and more, including a free concert by the Cleveland Orchestra on April 7. NASA TV will be doing a live broadcast from here on the day of the eclipse.
Can I see the eclipse if it’s cloudy?
If the skies above Cleveland are completely cloudy on the day of the total solar eclipse, you won’t be able to see the actual eclipse itself (i.e. the moon passing in front of the sun and the cool corona this produces), but you’ll still experience the rest of the eclipse.
The sky will get eerily dark like it’s suddenly twilight, the temperature will drop, and birds and other wildlife will go silent. I’m not gonna lie: it’s kind of eerie! But it’s cool to experience, and you’ll be able to see/feel all of those things even if the skies are cloudy.
Are you planning to watch the total solar eclipse in Cleveland in 2024?
Amanda was born and raised in northeast Ohio, and has always been a fangirl of her home state. Now, she’ sharing her love of the Cleveland area with the world, highlighting all the best things to do, see, and eat in the CLE. She’s been running Cleveland Traveler since January 2019.