Sandusky native, astronomer to present "When Day Becomes Dusk"

The term “once in a lifetime” perhaps is thrown around too loosely, but on April 8, Sandusky-area folks have the opportunity to witness something that hasn’t occurred in about 200 years.

That is, of course, the day of the 2024 total solar eclipse, and Northern Ohioans are fortunate enough to be in what’s become known as the “path of totality.” Unlike in 2017, area folks are slated to view an experience whereby the sun is completely obscured by the moon.

What’s in store: Beginning April 3, Sandusky will present “When Day Becomes Dusk,” a series of educational and celebratory events to lead up to the big day. The kickoff to the series will be led by Sandusky native Nick Anderson, Senior Astronomer at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

Anderson, who in 2017 traveled to Franklin, Ky., in order to view that eclipse in the path of totality, is excited that those closer to home will get to appreciate a total eclipse in all its glory.

“It really is difficult to describe,” Anderson says. “A story really doesn’t capture how strange and beautiful it is. A few minutes there, when the sun’s surface is completely obscured by the moon, that’s when the odd, amazing things are witnessed.”

Anderson says to expect bluish, metallic hues not normally seen during daytime hours. The temperature drops as the sun’s light is obscured. It’s possible that local wildlife will react to an event unbeknownst to them.

“Nothing really comes close to being as jaw-dropping as looking up there at the sun and moon,” he said.

Who’s behind it: The Cedar Point Sports Center is hosting the event, which is sponsored by the Erie County Community Foundation, the City of Sandusky and the Greater Sandusky Partnership. The organized events surrounding and leading up to the eclipse are being billed as “The Total Eclipse of SUNdusky Festival.

"The City of SUNdusky has a full slate of eclipse-related events along Sandusky Bay for area residents and our expected visitors throughout the weekend. We look forward to showcasing the city for this early April event and are prepared to work with Mother Nature on whatever Ohio weather she may give us during the weekend,” Jason Werling, Recreation Superintendent, City of Sandusky, said in a statement.

Mother Nature: Anderson, who will divide eclipse-related attention between the acclaimed Cleveland Museum of Natural History and his hometown, where his parents still reside, noted that weather can certainly play a role in viewers’ experiences.

“I’m not going to lie to you, the weather will have a pretty big impact that day,” Anderson says. “If it’s clear, that’s what you’re hoping for. Then, you’re going to witness one of nature’s grandest spectacles, truly just an unforgettable experience.

“In the event it’s overcast, then you’ll still have an inkling that something’s not quite right,” he says. “It’s not quite just your average cloudy day. It will darken significantly, still, when you’re in the dark shadow of the moon. The temperature will still drop, but you are going to miss the big part of the show, which is all that eye-candy.”

Anderson offered the disclaimer that he’s not a meteorologist, but that historical cloud-cover data shows reason for some optimism, weather-wise, especially right along the lakefront.

“We might not fare as well as Mexico,” he says, “But there’s a silver lining there.”

How to get involved: Cedar Point Sports Center is at located at 2701 Cleveland Road, Sandusky. Admission to the event is free, but tickets will be required. The presentation is recommended for those ages 10 and older. Doors will open at 5 p.m., with the program beginning at 6 p.m.

Those planning to attend to view the Total Solar Eclipse on Monday, April 8, should wear protective eclipse glasses. Total Eclipse of SUNdusky glasses will be available for each attendee of “When Day Becomes Dusk” and all Total Eclipse of SUNdusky events.