DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024, is months away, but people are already planning to get their front row seat.
Hotels across Ohio, including many in the Miami Valley, are filling up as people plan their experience.
For the first time since 1806, Ohio will have prime viewing for a total solar eclipse. Half of the Miami Valley will be in the path of totality, and they’re already preparing.
The prime viewing area for the 2024 solar eclipse lies across the heart of Ohio. The path of totality encompasses most of the Miami Valley, with the centerline going right through Shelby County.
Local officials project the population of Shelby County will triple in size on eclipse day, growing from nearly 48,000 to more than 140,000 people. Certain areas will see almost four minutes of totality.
Ohio hasn’t seen a total solar eclipse since 1806, and after the 2024 eclipse, there won’t be another one until 2099.
Boonshoft Museum officials say if this is your first eclipse to make sure you’re prepared.
“We want to make sure we’re being safe,” Parker Lynch, Boonshoft planetarium manager, said. “That is going to mean proper eye protection. There are specifically designed glasses that you can wear for looking at the sun. Sunglasses are not going to work. They’re not going to protect your eyes. So, you’re going to want to make sure that you get some of those glasses before the day of the eclipse.”
There will be plenty of viewing places in Dayton, such as Levitt Pavilion, Day Air Ballpark and Five Rivers Metroparks.
Since this is a cosmic event, one Dayton organization will also be providing a unique experience.
“If you want a more holistic experience for the eclipse, you can also check out the Dayton Symphony,” Lynch said. “They’ll be performing close to the planets April 5 and 6, which are the days right before the eclipse, and so that’s another opportunity if people really want to get into this really exciting event.”
Shelby County officials say they want to take advantage of this opportunity.
“It’s really kind of up to us to capitalize upon that for the viewing experience of everyone who chooses to come to Shelby County to participate,” Jeff Raible, Sidney Visitors Bureau president, said. “We want everyone to know that our doors are going to be wide open, and we’re going to do everything we can to put our best foot forward. So, we hope they’ll come out and spend the day with us, spend the weekend with us.”
Raible added that as the eclipse draws closer, the Sidney Visitors Bureau website will be continually updated with new information.