Eclipses in Bay Village
The following article was written by Bay Village Historical Society members Jim and Barbara Comienski. Barbara is a museum docent and collections volunteer. Jim is a retired planetarium director and astronomy and geology teacher for Lakewood City Schools. He is a 48-year member of the Great Lakes Planetarium Association, the Cleveland Regional Association of Planetariums and the Cleveland Astronomical Society, upon whose board he currently serves. Jim is also active in the Bay Village Kiwanis Club.
Much of the Cleveland area is in preparation for the total eclipse of the sun next year on April 8, 2024.
The last one in our area that extensive – a full eclipse – was on June 16, 1806, predating settlers but seen by Native populations as was an annular eclipse on April 3, 1791.
The area was then inhabited by Wyandot and, to the west, Shawnee tribes. Although treaties were established with Native Americans in 1795, the land only opened to settlers in 1805. The Prophet Tenskwatawa, who was the brother of the famous chief Tecumseh, had predicted the 1806 eclipse.
There were two annular eclipses in the area after 1806 that would have been experienced by early settlers. An annular eclipse is not total; a ring of sunlight is visible. The Cahoons would have seen the one on Sept. 17, 1811. Another occurred as the area was becoming more settled on Sept. 18, 1838. Northeast Ohio then experienced its next annular eclipse on May 10, 1994.
There have been lots of partial eclipses where only part of sun is covered, the most recent in 2017, when our area parks were filled with viewers. All eclipses require safe viewing procedures. The Northeast Ohio area will experience a partial eclipse again this fall on Oct. 14. This will undoubtedly generate excitement for the total eclipse in April.
Destination Cleveland projects an influx of viewers of hundreds of thousands to the Cleveland area, including Bay Village. Both Lake Erie Nature & Science Center and Kiwanis are developing plans with the city for possible events.