August 21 solar eclipse: an amazing day

Photo: Crowd watching eclipse. Credit: Alan Studt

A Day of Eclipse Excitement at Edgewater Park. Credit: Alan Studt

by Jay Reynolds

What an amazing day we had.

I don’t think I need to describe the spectacular event we had August 21 at Edgewater Park. While not in the path of totality for the day’s solar eclipse, we still experienced our own version of magic. From the first contact at 1:06 PM to the spontaneous applause at 2:30, we all experienced and shared something very special indeed.

Photo: Group viewing eclipse via projection. Credit: Alan Studt

Sharing the View via “Sun Funnel” Projector. Credit: Alan Studt

It was totally awesome at 2:30 when we were bathed in that eerie light of an 80 percent eclipse. Temperature decrease was noticeable and measurable. A nice break from the oppressive heat of our sun earlier that day.  Also surprising, at 2:45, was the Mass Exodus, leaving only a few remaining for last contact at 3:50 PM.

All of our nonprofit organization friends who said they would be there, were there on time, and ready to go.

A summary of activities:

  • Four Physical activities from City of Lakewood and “Lakewood Alive”
  • Flying airplanes from Discovery Aviation
  • Making “Galaxy Goo” from Spaces Art Gallery
  • Discussing weather with school outreach program, “Wise on Weather”, illustrated by Dick Goddard, was also present.
  • We even had the traveling butterfly enclosure from Put-n-Bay’s Lake Erie Island Nature & Wildlife! (Solar Eclipse and butterflies… J )  This is the same group who does the Stargazing Cruise on Lake Erie.

Also attending was Cleveland Metroparks with their “Nature Tracks” trailer and “Sand Art” craft. NASA Glenn was present with their “Live” truck showing a feed from totality.

We also can’t forget those who showed up extra early to do five segments of: Fox 8’s “Kick’n It with Kenny” morning show: Dave Nuti, Suzie Dills, Nora Mishey, and new member Sarah Drab.  I received nothing but positive feedback for all the work that they did. Those folks came out early and represented our organization extremely well! I was down at Fox 8 the next day and there were numerous compliments.  (They like us.)

Besides, CAA’s own “photographer of awesomeness” Alan Studt, we had guest photographers, David Taggart, and event photographer Sharon Connelly.  Dave has been photographing many of our events since 2005. Sharon and I have worked together for 15 years and had amazing day with us and just loved everyone she met.  Sharon and Dave also pitched in where they could to help.

Photo: Jay Reynolds Interview at Edgewater. Credit: Alan Studt

Jay Reynolds Interview at Edgewater. Credit: Alan Studt

Media Present:

At the event, besides WJW (8), WKYC (3) and WOIO (19) were present for the entire event. Even Scene Magazine did social media throughout the afternoon. We also had news helicopters from WJW (8), and WEWS (5).  A Cleveland Police helicopter was up around us as well.

Interviews:

  • 8/14 Cleveland Plain Dealer Event information
  • 8/16  WTAM Wills & Snyder
  • 8/20  Fox 8 “In the Morning”
  • Fox 8 Maia Belay
  • 8/21 WTAM Wills & Snyder
  • Fox 8 “Kick’n it with Kenny” (4) CAA interviews
  • WOIO – commentary (1)
  • WKYC – Brandon Simmons (2 at event)
  • Fox 8 Stacy Frey (1)
  • Fox 8 Matt Wright (2 at event)
  • 8/22 Fox 8 “In the Morning” Wrap Up
  • Fox Matt Wright – Life of solar glasses
  • Fox Matt Wright – Facebook “Live”- Wrap Up

On the weather side, everyone called for clouds and possible rain. In typical CAA style, it was essentially clear till the end of the event. Forty minutes later, clouds roll in, 10 minutes after that, rain.  CAA was in control!

Photo: Smart Phone held to Eyepiece. Credit: Nancy Whisler

Smart Phone held to Eyepiece. Credit: Nancy Whisler

Besides being the “presenting and organizing agent of record” CAA provided other services and activities…

Photo: Using telescope whilst holding parasol. Credit: Alan Studt

Too Much Sun Might Ruin the Day. Credit: Alan Studt

Everyone on the telescope line did awesome! They were so helpful and generous.

But I must offer special recognition to two ladies who took on the toughest jobs. Nora Mishey, and Sarah Drab.

Photo: Home-Built "Sun Funnel" works Remarkably Well. Credit: Nancy Whisler

Home-Built “Sun Funnel” works Remarkably Well. Credit: Nancy Whisler

Sarah anxiously volunteered to hand out the solar glasses to the guests. None of us realized it would be like “Thunder Dome”! We had to cut off distribution at 10:30 AM because people were taking glasses and leaving and we wouldn’t have any for the guests at 12:30 PM. The line was nearly to the beach! Sarah took a lot of guff! Wow! The demands! The stories! Thank you, Sarah.

Photo: Boy wearing eclipse glasses. Credit: Alan Studt

Youngster is Thrilled by the View of Eclipsing Sun. Credit: Alan Studt

CAA’s own Education Director, Nora Mishey, took a simple craft and “Nora-ized” it into a Tri-C certificate program in the electromagnetic spectrum. People could create special bracelets using UV-sensing beads. They learned about the visible EM spectrum, how we can’t see UV, and why we need to be careful.  Guests received an understandable lesson and a great souvenir.  She never stopped, even when she was stung by a bee or by the oppressive heat.  She was so awesome.

Bottom line: It was an awesome event for the city and for the CAA.

(At the Medina County Park District’s Wolf Creek Environmental Education Center, Bill & Carol Lee and Dave Watson represented CAA with telescopes and park staff presented other Sun-related activities for the public. We were informed by park officials that the park’s gates were closed when attendance topped 1,000. — ed.)

Everyone who was a part of this eclipse, whether it was Edgewater, Wolf Creek, Avon Lake, or just sharing with a neighbor, should be very proud of all of the smiles, enthusiasm for science that was experienced by guests, you served.  CAA continues to live up to the meaning of science outreach and serves as a great example of what a nonprofit can be.
None of this would be possible, without our members’ culture of caring for each other, cooperation and devotion.

Amazing.

Jay Reynolds is astronomy professor at Cleveland State University and serves as the CAA’s observatory director. He regularly coordinates public events in which CAA plays a major part. An estimated 8,000 people were in attendance at Edgewater Park, Cleveland, for the solar eclipse.

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About Webmaster

I am Webmaster for the Cuyahoga Astronomical Association. I also participate in outreach programming in public observing and occasional presentations on behalf of the CAA and a local college.
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