Solar eclipse in Mentor
Solar eclipse in Mentor
Kira Florek

Eclipse Fever!

Several Cardinal Nation staffers report on their experience during the April 8 total solar eclipse

Editor’s Note: To quote Duran Duran, it was a “New Moon on Monday” on April 8, 2024 when Mentor, Ohio experienced it’s first total solar eclipse since 1806 when Ohio as a state was only three years old, Thomas Jefferson was President of the United States, and Lake County was surely sill a wild place of virgin forest. Check out this cool feature from the New York Times that shows what we expereinced from the perspective of space! Before we leave this epic celestial experience behind us, Nathan Colagross, Nina Evans, Kira Florek, Nick Prohaska, and Olivia West, of our Cardinal Nation staff share their experiences from the event.

Where were you? 

Solar eclipse in Mentor (Kira Florek)

Olivia: My backyard.

Nick: I wanted to get away from the noise for a peaceful experience so I wandered into a field near my house. 

Nathan: I was in a parking lot with about 200 other people near Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Downtown Cleveland, the perfect spot to see the total coverage of the sun.

Nina: I was in my backyard.

What is your first-person reaction to the experience? 

Olivia: When I first put on my eclipse glasses about an hour before totality, both my mother and I said “Oh wow” because of how cool it was to see the sun by itself without any glare. I knew it was going to be night-time dark outside during totality, but seeing it happen was a very unique experience. The way it got colder as the sun disappeared was eerie. I used an eclipse glasses lens to take photos with my phone. It was crazy how with the glasses on I could clearly see the sun disappearing, but the phone camera still showed glare and it looked like the sun was still fully there. 

Nick: It was certainly intriguing being within the sun’s umbra, that’s for sure. I waited until I was in the field to put on my eclipse glasses. I’ve never used them before so it was strange to me that the sun just seemed like a tiny yellow circle in the sky. It was about another 5 minutes before I saw a black shape appear on the edge of our sun. It didn’t even seem like the moon to me, it was just a crescent dilating and dilating, expanding and expanding, slowly devouring the sun. When experiencing the eclipse, I didn’t hear about the fact that the temperature would drop so it was a great surprise to me when the moon covered a decent amount of the sun and it started to get chilly. The most interesting part of the eclipse in my opinion were the swift changes of the light. I was in awe seeing the bright atmosphere of the sun diminish until it was dark. If I were to ever travel to see a total eclipse, that unique light would be my main reason. It was a fully mesmerizing experience once the moon overtook the sun. It felt as though all the birds and insects were in agreement with my awe as they stopped chirping and singing. The moon itself was crazy, it looked like a weird amalgamation of the two celestial objects, a pitch-black circle which was once the moon was only recognizable to me by an angelic gray ring surrounding it. Once totality ended, it looked like a reddish spark was emerging from the moon, the sky’s brightness suddenly increased really fast and I had to put my glasses back on due to the sun’s glare increasing rapidly. It was a surreal encounter and I’m happy I got to experience a total solar eclipse in my life.

The “diamond ring” effect in Mentor

Kira: It was a kind of crazy and surreal experience. As the eclipse was reaching its peak, the sky got darker and it got a little cooler which was just bizarre for it being early afternoon. Then, at the peak, it was just strange to see colors like the sunset and the moon surrounded by a ring of light. As the moon moved away, it was just surprising how fast the world got bright again. Overall, the experience was a once in a lifetime event that I am so glad to have experienced.

Nathan: When I began to see the sun get covered by the moon, I was not completely blown away, as I had seen videos of other partial eclipses and had even experienced a partial solar eclipse many years ago, though I was young. However, as the sun began to fade more and more, and the world around me began to fade into darkness, the reality of the occasion truly hit me. Only once in 400 years did something like this occur, and I just happened to be living in the perfect window to see it, with a flourishing downtown Cleveland crowd. Thus, as the sky darkened and the sun became just a sliver, I was truly amazed. Having lived on the planet for just shy of 16 years, seeing the sky completely blank was something I was not used to at 3 PM. When totality finally dawned, I was overwhelmed with awe. I had never really understood how truly odd the experience would be, with the ability to stare directly at a burning ball of fire, covered by a perfectly proportional planetary moon. The power of the sun also shocked me. As slivers of the sun began to creep out once more following totality, the world was instantly lightened and everything seemed normal. Although, I would guess, less than 5% of the sun was beaming onto Earth, everything was illuminated and alive. Only then, did I realize how powerful our sun is, and how lucky we were to be able to live in the perfect place in the solar system in which life could flourish, and to live in the perfect moment in time in which the sun and moon were precisely in the right place, and to live in the moment in time in which the sun and the moon were proportionally perfect to shield one another, and to live in the perfect place on earth to experience the peak of totality. Only then, did I understand the meaning of the solar eclipse. 

Nina: It felt almost surreal. This was the first total solar eclipse I remember and I will remember it for a while. I was in awe when I saw the moon go over the sun even though it took some time. Occasionally I would tape my protective eyewear to my phone to get pictures of the eclipse happening and it worked! Once the eclipse was in totality I took the glasses off whether I was wearing them or taped on my phone camera and was in shock. I have automatic sensors in my backyard for when it gets dark and they turn on. My dogs that were with me started acting weird as well. They either stayed by my door or the fences. I even got some really cool pictures in totality. I couldn’t believe my eyes on how clear it was from my backyard. 

What is the reaction from the people you were with?

The U.S. won’t need these until 2044 (Olivia West)

Olivia: It was very quiet outside, and then you could hear the neighborhood cheering, dogs howling, and fireworks going off. My mom said “I’ve never seen anything like it.” 

Nick: I heard fireworks in the surrounding area and my mother sent me her wise words through her phone as the moon was overtaking the sun: “It looked like a banana”.

Kira: After the fact of the eclipse, looking back; my family and some friends watched it in our front yard. 

“It was cool.” – JS Florek

“It has changed my life. I don’t take life for granted anymore. I will remember this for the rest of my life.” – Patrick Bell

Nina: My mom’s boyfriend had some protective wear on some binoculars and my family and I looked through it one at a time. 

“This is incredible.” – My older brother Noah Evans.

WKYC Channel 3
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