WHEELING, W.Va (WTRF) – Planetariums can show you anything in the universe, but on April 8th, 2024 – a rarity that’s out of this world will sweep across the entire planet and come to its closest point right in our area before our own eyes – A spectacle that’s dated back to the beginning of time and has impacted cultures as we know it. 

A total solar eclipse will be visible to the Ohio Valley and surrounding areas with a path of totality only spanning for nearly 70 miles. 

This is why local astronomers like those at the Carnegie Science Center of Pittsburgh have been preparing for this phenomenon for years. 

We met up with Amanda Iwaniec, The Director of Theater Experiences at The Carnegie Science Center of Pittsburgh to talk about the upcoming Solar Eclipse and what it means to the Ohio River Valley.

”When we talk about a solar eclipse, that is when the path of earth, the moon and the sun all line up. So, what happens is, as the moon is kind of coming into that path, it obstructs the view of the sun. And depending on where you are on that total, that path of totality will depend on how much of an eclipse you see.”

Amanda Iwaniec – Director of Theater Experiences, Carnegie Science Center of Pittsburgh

We also toured the Buhl Planetarium and got to witness a solar eclipse.

A view of the solar eclipse inside the Buhl Planetarium.

Our region will witness what’s called partial solar eclipse with the area roughly within the 95-96% full eclipse range. The Moon will cover near all of the Sun, meaning a spectacular sight if the clouds cooperate. (Sadly, a bit out of range to forecast exact weather conditions for the day according to Chief Meteorologist Zach Petey).

Although it’s a marvel to see, looking directly into the rays can cause severe eye damage which is why you need to be prepared with certified solar eclipse viewing lenses. 

”What the filter does is that it will filter out the dangerous rays of the sun and allow you to still be able to see the objects that are there and there is an actual like rating that is certified to be safe. So, your sunglasses, they do protect, you know, certain UV rays, but they aren’t as strong as the certified glasses.”

Amanda Iwaniec – Director of Theater Experiences, Carnegie Science Center of Pittsburgh
Certified rating on solar eclipse glasses that are up to safety regulations for viewers.

Certified solar eclipse lenses can be found here: Amazon.com: Soluna Solar Eclipse Glasses – CE and ISO Certified Safe Shades for Direct Sun Viewing – Made in the USA (5 Pack) : Tools & Home Improvement

This event may seem light years away now, but the Buhl Planetarium at the Carnegie Science Center already has programs planned for locals to safely view this intergalactic wonder that may just change lives. 

”We’ve had so many stories of people who have had experiences in their formative years and how it’s changed their path and their career goals to be in the community doing science, whether it’s an astronomy or just another science that they were curious about because they learn something here. So, I’m really proud of the planetarium and the programs that we do.”

Amanda Iwaniec – Director of Theater Experiences, Carnegie Science Center of Pittsburgh

Times to be aware of on Monday April 8, 2024:

Partial Eclipse Begins: 1:59 PM

Maximum Eclipse: 3:16 PM

Partial Eclipse Ends: 4:29 PM

A fun fact for this upcoming eclipse: after the one on April 8, 2024 the next Total Solar Eclipse than can be visible in the Contiguous United States will be Aug 23, 2044.

For more information about the eclipse, click here: