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Lakesider News

John Mann & Candace Vincent are Lakeside’s Eclipse Ambassadors

By Kevin Greer
Lakeside Communications Manager

The countdown to the April 8 Total Solar Eclipse is well underway, and Lakeside is one of several prime locations in Northeast Ohio to view the rare event in totality.

Karyn Torigoe, Senior Manager of STEM Programs & Evaluation at the Great Lakes Science Center, has visited Lakeside many times and reached out to John Mann, Lakeside’s Director of Education, about applying to be Eclipse Ambassadors. The program trains those selected in eclipse education, basic astronomy and eclipse viewing safety.

Each location is outfitted with equipment, including a telescope with a solar viewing filter, educational materials, solar viewing glasses and materials for activities. Lakeside, along with all selected participants, will receive a $1,000 stipend for participation.

“I had visited Lakeside and thought it would make a prime viewing location and can reach audiences that the Science Center does not typically receive,” Torigoe said. “After reviewing over twice as many applications that were needed, we were pleased to be able to name Lakeside as one of our 30 Eclipse Ambassador locations. We’re so excited to see the plans that Lakeside has to host activities and special events throughout the entire weekend of the eclipse and can’t wait to see the excitement and engagement it brings.”

Mann added, “We had been kicking around the idea of having some programming for the eclipse. I remember coming away from the meeting with Karyn going, ‘Oh, my goodness. I hope we’re prepared enough for the potential number of people that will be coming to the area.’ The idea that the Science Center was looking to more rural areas to get materials and training out to different communities was pretty neat.”

According to NASA’s website: “A Total Solar Eclipse happens when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, completely blocking the face of the Sun. People located in the center of the Moon’s shadow when it hits Earth will experience a Total Eclipse. The sky will darken, as if it were dawn or dusk. Weather permitting, people in the path of a Total Solar Eclipse can see the Sun’s corona, or outer atmosphere, which is usually obscured by the bright face of the Sun.”

Northeast Ohio is in the direct path of the eclipse. Partial eclipse can be seen in Lakeside from 1:58-4:27 p.m., with maximum totality at 3:14 p.m.

Mann and Education Assistant Candace Vincent are Lakeside’s Eclipse Ambassadors. Due to scheduling conflicts, they couldn’t attend the same three-hour course, led by Torigoe and an assistant who is retired from NASA. Vincent went to the Lorain County Fairgrounds and Mann attended a January session at Medina Town Hall. Mann and Vincent completed training by passing a quiz.

“The curriculum was the same,” Vincent said. “But we got to do different experiences.”

The information Mann and Vincent learned during training will be useful when they host Eclipse Learning Corner during Lakeside’s Eclipse Weekend Celebration in the Fountain Inn Aigler Room. Lakeside’s Eclipse Ambassadors will answer questions and share their knowledge of the upcoming Total Solar Eclipse and why it is so special. The sessions take place Friday from 6-9 p.m. and Saturday and Monday from 10 a.m.-noon.

Mann and Vincent learned that the corridor is roughly 100 miles wide. When the area is in totality, it will be as dark as an hour past sunset. On the other sides of that corridor, it’ll be light. During totality, you don’t need to wear eclipse glasses. Before and after totality, you’ll need to wear them.

“As we look at 360 degrees around us in Lakeside, it will look like a 360-degree sunrise,” Mann said. “Outside the corridor, it’s still sunny.”

The weather is the main factor on the visibility of the eclipse. If it’s cloudy, it will still get dark, but you won’t be able to see it. If it’s a sunny day, the view will be spectacular. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, it can be viewed via NASA TV from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. in Orchestra Hall.

“If it’s a clear sky when it gets dark, the stars will be very visible,” Vincent said. “There’ll be four planets that will be easy to spot.”

Mann and Vincent also learned other things that will happen during the eclipse, including a temperature drop of roughly 10 degrees. Nighttime insects or animals will come out, while animals that are normally out during the day will go back to their nest or burrow.

Birds could get a little confused or upset and they might start chirping a lot. It’s also possible that people, especially those with sensory issues, could get nervous. Also, the internet and cell phone towers will likely be bogged down, making communication difficult.

Areas like Columbus, Toledo and Detroit are not in the line of totality, so thousands of people will be making the short road trip to the region.

The Science Center strongly recommends a full day of programming for safety reasons. This is to help keep people from getting on the road at the same time like after a sporting event or concert. Several Lakeside venues will be open after totality, including pickleball, tennis, mini golf, shuffleboard, cornhole, businesses and restaurants. Mann contacted local Emergency Management Offices and Ottawa County anticipates a doubling of the population of the county and Erie County is expecting three times the amount.

“We’re going to have a controlled environment and programming,” Vincent said. “People can stay here at Lakeside, not on the road.”

Lakeside is making the eclipse a full weekend event beginning Friday, rather than one day like most locations. Mann says it’s a great opportunity to show new visitors what the community has to offer.

“I think there is a really a good opportunity to capitalize on all these individuals coming through our area,” Mann said. “There are people who don’t think the eclipse is a big deal. When it does happen, I think people will be amazed. It’s going to be a heck of an opportunity to see something that happens very infrequently. Get out of the house and come to Lakeside.”


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