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Corona: special processing & multi-image overlay

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Baily's Beads shining thru moon's mnt's & valleys

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Diamond Ring

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 Corona with standard camera

Total Solar Eclipse in Central Ohio--Don't Miss it!

by WGRN Engineer and solar enthusiast, Eugene Beer, text: 614-893-6293

APR 3 UPDATE: Current forecast shows OH, KY, IN may be the only states with clear or partly cloudy skies!  I just checked out bike trail proximity parking possibilities at Avery Pike (4 mi from trail start). For those of you who don't wish to bike the round-trip 9 mi from/to the trail's start near Hilliard center, there is room for about a dozen cars to park on the wide gravel shoulder of the trail just north and south of Avery Pike (see pic). The intersection of Avery Pike and bike trail is in Madison County, 1/2 mile west of the Franklin County line, where Avery Pike becomes Rings Rd.


You have to drive on the actual trail about 20 ft from Avery to access the shoulder. 

From Avery Pike, then walk 1/2 mi further out the trail (NW) to our viewing spot, which is where the trail has two paved "ears" for maintenance vehicles to turn around (see pic).


Total eclipses in any specific locale are rare--once every 375 years on average. The previous one in Ohio was in the early 1800's, and the next one after Apr 8th isn't until 2099. I've been fortunate to witness two eclipses--1970 on VA Beach and 2017 in eastern TN. 

On the beach in Virginia, as totality was ending  I saw the shadow "wall" or "curtain" racing away from us over the ocean at 1/2 mile per second! This wall of blackness extended from the ocean surface to the upper reaches of the atmosphere--one of the most awesome sights I've ever experienced.  

47 years later, standing on a grassy hill in TN, on a partly cloudy day with bright cumulous clouds, we saw the advancing shadow mysteriously blacken the white clouds far in the distance, getting closer and closer within seconds.

In this writeup, I'll describe specific phenomena to look for that isn't usually mentioned in mainstream media. I'll talk about things to look for on the ground and in the whole sky, in addition to viewing the sun itself.  Many of the on-ground phenomena can also be seen at locales in Franklin County that are outside of the zone of totality because, even as far as 10 miles away from the totality zone, the sun will appear 99.8 - 99.9% obscured.


On Monday April 8th, the zone of totality (i.e. the moon's umbra shadow) sweeps over the NW part of Franklin County at 3:11PM at a speed exceeding 1600 mph (3 times that of a jet airliner). The umbra shadow hitting the earth in Ohio is roughly a circle of diameter 125 miles. The duration of totality in the county ranges from a few seconds near the border line to about 2 min near the NW corner of the county, such as Muir Field. See map below from 

Even if cloudy, under most conditions (including overcast or partly cloudy such that the sun is obscured during totality), there is plenty to see in the "zone." 

Partial Phase up to a couple minutes before totality

This phase lasts about 1hr 15m.  As partiality begins, looking at the sun with protective glasses,  you'll see what looks like a chunk being bitten out of the sun's limb.  The bite slowly gets bigger and bigger until the sun starts appearing as a crescent.  When that happens, look on the ground below any trees or bushes that might have early leaves out.  Trees/bushes with no leaves yet but with very dense branches may also work.  What happens is that the random pattern of spaces between the leaves and branches can act as a multitude of pinhole imagers and you'll see crescent-shaped images of the sun all over the ground near the tree.

Then look at the sky.  As the crescent gets thinner, you'll notice an eerie quality to the sunlight on the ground and in the sky.  Hold your hand up with fingers spread to make a shadow on the ground or flat surface.  The shadow appears much more crisp and well defined than usual.  That's because the sun is no longer a disk, sending rays from different angles over its 1/2 degree diameter.  The sun's light is now coming from a smaller area, eventually approaching a point source just before totality.

Then, notice the behavior of any birds or animals in the vicinity.  I've seen birds chirping like crazy--all lined up on a utility wire facing the sun. I hope those birds know to use their eclipse glasses!  You'll notice an odd chill in the air. Here, it will be 3pm and the heat from the sun is quickly fizzling out. 

Partial Phase within 2 min of totality

This is when lots of cool stuff happens, so be prepared to take your glasses off/on quickly as you shift attention from looking at the sun to looking at the ground & sky. Personally, though, I would take the eclipse glasses off at this point and look for the shadow bands and moving shadow front. 

SHADOW BANDS: A subtle ground-level appearance  of wavy gently pulsing parallel bands of light gray and darker gray.  Each band is just a few inches wide.  Best seen on a light colored smooth surface such as a car door or hood, a concrete sidewalk, a wall of a house, faded light-colored asphalt surface, or a white piece of cardboard, say 2 ft x 2 ft. The bands arise as the sun's shrinking crescent shape approaches that of a sharp line emitter and the atmosphere distorts that light.  Difficult to capture on video, this group does it fairly well from Australia in 2012:

BAILY'S BEADS: "Bumps" or beads of sunlight just before totality, where the sun's light passes through gaps in the moon's rugged terrain.  (The moon's disk has jagged edges). The beads are best seen with a telescope with sun filter--I've never seen them, although since central Ohio is near the edge of the totality zone, the duration of bead visibility will last longer.

DIAMOND RING: The single remaining Baily's Bead mixes with the emerging Corona.  I think I saw this in 1970 using a military grade brightness-adjustable 2-plane  polarizer goggle.  But, alas, I don't have it anymore.  The goggle lets more light in than the eclipse glasses.

MOVING SHADOW FRONT: Look to the SW 10 sec before totality. The shadow will be 5 mi away at that point of 10 s. Look at the sky, say, 20 degrees elevation; look at the clouds if any; and, if hilly, look at the distant ground. If the terrain is flat, it'll probably be difficult to see the shadow on the ground.  20 degrees elevation can be measured as follows: extend your right arm straight out horizontally toward the SW with your hand oriented vertically, thumb on top, resting on index finger.  Align the bottom of your hand with the horizon. The vertical extent of your hand positioned this way is approx. 10 degrees, so stack your left hand on top of it to get 20. If its overcast, it's possible to see the projection of the advancing shadow front  on the bottom of the cloud layer.


NOTE: as the moon's shadow leaves Newfoundland in Canada for the Atlantic, it will be moving at 4,727 mph and as the shadow leaves the earth's surface as an eclipsed sunset in the Atlantic, it will be traveling at a whopping 5,535,176 mph. Yes, that's right, because the earth's curvature will be "falling away" from the shadow.

A word about timing

If clouds or overcast does hide the sun for the waning thin crescent phase of partiality, it'll be hard to discern time-wise when those last few seconds of partiality will arrive, i.e.  the indication for you to start looking to the SW for the approaching shadow front on the clouds or on the ground. So, it's a good idea to have an accurate timepiece that can tell you to the second when totality occurs (see info below for using  to get totality times for any location). Any smartphone should have a Clock app or widget that shows time to the second. If using a wristwatch, set it ahead of time by calling this number: 613-745-1576. It's Canada's NRC (Nat'l Research Council) recorded EDT number.


It's like a 10,000 Watt theatrical stage lighting system for the heavens is suddenly switched off--an incandescent light, not LED, because the incandescent filaments take about 1 second to fully extinguish. The sun's corona (the sun's atmosphere) pops out and is safe to look at without the eclipse glasses.  It's not much brighter than several full moons. Try to notice any subtle changes in the corona over the two minutes of totality.  Since the sun is currently near the peak of its 11-year sunspot cycle, the corona is expected to appear especially strong for this eclipse, perhaps even exhibiting "streamers" of solar flares. 

Look to the SW about 15 degrees from the sun.  That "headlight in the sky" is Venus. On the other side of the sun, further away from it, towards the northeast, you'll see Jupiter, about 6 times dimmer than Venus. Saturn and Mars to the SW of Venus may also be visible (click on photo of sky map), although they could be lost in the twilight illumination since they're closer to the horizon. Hold the full-size linked photo over your head and orient the north direction to create a sky map.

Scan your eyes along the full 360 degree horizon.  Towards the SE you'll be able to see a strong twilight which is the bright sky outside of the totality zone, since the southeastern edge of totality is only several miles away.

As totality ends, you may be able to catch Baily's Beads for 1 sec or so as the moon slips away from full coverage.  But don't look with your eyes unprotected for more than about 1 sec. Put your eclipse glasses back on.  For the remaining 75 min of partiality, the phenomena listed in the earlier section above can be observed again.

 Locations to view eclipse

Hilliard's Heritage Rail Trail bikepath. 4.5 miles out it's flat farmland for good view. See map below.

Franklin County Fairgrounds parking lot, Hilliard. Free parking, but parking that day is intended for those who patronize the downtown Hilliard eclipse event at Hilliard Station Park.

Columbus Zoo parking lot, $10 to park (incl. port-a-potties). But traffic there is likely to be a "zoo."

Columbus Metro Parks: Highbanks--too wooded to see racing shadow front. Glacier Ridge might have more open views.

Don Scott OSU Airport: It's  possible to bike or walk the access roads through the cow pastures.

Worthington or Dublin area golf courses?




On the day of the eclipse Heather and I intend to bike out along the Heritage Rail Trail path to a point 1/2 mi beyond where it crosses Amity Pike. The trail's intersection with Amity Pike is in Madison County, 1/2 mi west of Franklin Cty line.

We intend to bring several pairs of binoculars (to view the corona), white cardboard for Shadow Bands, collapsing colander to project sun's image via pinholes, cameras with different levels of darkening film taped to the lenses, audio recorder, and, of course snacks and drinks.  So, if anyone would like to join us, let me know via text or email as listed above. 


It would be great to have a gathering of WGRN listeners to hang out with! And don't forget WGRN's Birthday Party and awards celebration at First UU Church, Sat. April 13, 5:30PM-9PM. Featured is nationally-known musical satirist Tom Neilson. 

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1/2 mi NW of Avery Pike-Bike Path intersection is the suggested viewing spot with clear view to the SW (note paved ears)


Parking on gravel berm of bike path just off Avery Pike

Screenshots from  (Do a full zoom on the website's US map 

on Columbus to see major street names). Thin red diagonal straight line traversing SW to NE is the edge of 

totality zone. For example, Worthington and OSU airport are in totality zone; Northland, out-of-zone.

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SE Edge of Totality Line

Suggested viewing point along Hilliard's Heritage Rail Trail bikepath (marked by red balloon pin). At start of trail there is extra parking at Makoy event center or at large Kroger lot, Cemetery Rd at Leap Rd. Note that totality is 1m 49s, starting at 3:11:35 PM.  Partial phase of the eclipse (eye protection required!) occurs about 1hr 15m before and after totality.

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Start of Heritage Rail Trail bikepath with extra parking at Makoy center (parking confirmed OK with Makoy)

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Extra parking at shopping area about 1 mi from start of bikepath. Road labeled "30" is Cemetery Rd.

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