Make your home page

Don’t be in the dark about the total solar eclipse

The umbra shadow’s path for the April 8 total solar eclipse is traced across North America. (Provided Photo/NASA)

RICHMOND, Ind. (Western Wayne News) — Wayne County will soon witness a rare celestial event.

Dalton Township is one of the best viewing spots in the world to see the total solar eclipse shortly after 3 p.m. April 8, but local eclipse activities will span the weekend as the county expects thousands of visitors to share the nearly four minutes of darkness.

“We do want people to have fun with this,” said Mary Walker, the executive director of the Wayne County Convention and Tourism Bureau. “It’s an amazing thing to have in your own backyard.”

What is it?

The orbits of the Earth and moon will result April 8 with the moon aligned between Earth and the sun. The moon will begin to obscure the sun about 1:52 p.m. More and more of the sun will be covered during the next nearly hour and a half.

The moon’s distance from Earth will enable it to block the entire sun around 3:07 p.m., creating the total eclipse. After totality, another hour and a half will be needed until the entire sun is visible again around 4:24 p.m.

The umbra shadow’s path for the April 8 total solar eclipse is traced across North America.
(Provided Photo/NASA)

The moon’s umbra shadow will cross North America from Mexico to Canada causing what’s known as the path of totality, which will include all of Wayne County. In that path, which will basically stretch from Hamilton, Ohio, to Kokomo, darkness will occur, such as at dusk. Automatic lights will turn on and nocturnal animals will stir.

The shadow, which will be up to 121 miles wide, will enter the United States in Texas and angle northeast through Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine before entering Canada.

Because the moon’s shadow is round, the middle of the shadow’s path as it’s traveling has the longest duration of totality. In Wayne County, that’s 4 minutes in Dalton Township. Elsewhere in Wayne County, Hagerstown will have totality for 3:59.2, Williamsburg for 3:58, Greens Fork for 3:56.9, Cambridge City for 3:56.7, Fountain City for 3:56.5, Centerville for 3:52 and Richmond for 3:48.8.

When the moon completely blocks the sun, the sun’s corona, or outer atmosphere, becomes visible, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The sun is expected to be active during this year’s eclipse, because it’s at solar maximum. In that state, the sun’s magnetic field creates streamers that flow throughout the corona. There’s also a possibility prominences will be visible. They are bright, pink curls or loops coming off the sun.

Special eye protection — not just sunglasses — is required to avoid eye damage when viewing the eclipse. Eclipse glasses or viewers must meet ISO 12312-2 specifications and must not have scratches. Eclipse glasses are not enough for looking through phones, cameras, binoculars, or telescopes; those require special solar filters attached to their fronts.

Only during totality can the eclipse be viewed or photographed without the special glasses and filters.

People will visit here?

In its Feb. 22, 2023, issue, Western Wayne News asked: “Will 100,000 tourists descend on Wayne County next year?” above a story about the eclipse.

The next total solar eclipse visible from the contiguous United States won’t be until 2044, and it’s extremely rare Wayne County is in the path of totality. Walker called it “once in a lifetime.”

Although all 48 contiguous states will see at least a partial eclipse, people do travel to the path of totality. With the intersection of major north-south and east-west thoroughfares, Wayne County is a logical spot for eclipse spectators. The tourism bureau has received inquiries from neighboring states, but also from people coming from California, Florida, Texas, and Maine, plus Berlin, Germany, and London, England.

How many eclipse aficionados visit Wayne County is still unknown; however, bookings that fill hotels, campgrounds, AirBnBs, and pop-up campgrounds guarantee visitors will be here. 

Weather also factors into how many people observe the eclipse from Wayne County. If April 8 dawns cloudy and rainy in Wayne County and the afternoon forecast isn’t any better, totality tourists will leave to find better viewing conditions. Conversely, if Wayne County has clear weather, more viewers could flock here from cloudy conditions.

The influx promises heavy traffic plus demand at restaurants, gas stations, and grocery stores.

Planning for April 8

Wayne County emergency responders have been planning for more than a year now, including state and regional collaborations, to develop plans for traffic and other contingencies. They’ve had the advantage of after-action reports from other areas that experienced big eclipse crowds, specifically during a 2017 total eclipse that overwhelmed areas in Kentucky.

Eclipse visitors, however, also offer an opportunity. The tourism bureau, communities and organizations have also been busy for the past year, planning activities throughout the weekend and eclipse watch areas with entertainment for April 8.

Complete information about the eclipse and related activities is available online at and at the Old National Road Welcome Center, 4701 National Road E., Richmond, where eclipse glasses and viewers, souvenirs and more are available. An eclipse hotline provides information by calling 765-935-8687 and asking about the eclipse.

Any organization with an eclipse-related event or an eclipse viewing area can visit the website and add itself to the lists.

“Anyone who’s doing anything, we want to know about it and get it on the website,” said Angel Gray, the tourism bureau’s communications and social media specialist.

This article was originally published by Western Wayne News.