Looking up at the sky; the bright sun is partially blocked by Bibbins Hall and a tree.


The 2024 Solar Eclipse at Oberlin

Photo credit: Walter Novak

Get ready to witness the celestial event of a lifetime!

On Monday, April 8, a total solar eclipse will cross North America, leaving parts of Ohio—especially Oberlin—in the path of totality. Starting at 3:13 PM, the moon will completely cover the sun for more than three minutes. This is an incredibly rare occurrence, as the last total solar eclipse visible in Ohio was in 1806; the next will be in the year 2099.

To celebrate, the entire campus community is invited to OCLIPSE, a two-hour viewing party on Bailey Field. Pick up your Oberlin eclipse viewing glasses, enjoy special snacks and music, take part in a screenprinting project with YeoPress, and hear narration of the event by Oberlin’s own eclipse expert, Observatory and Planetarium Coordinator Dave Lengyel.

Pro Tips from Oberlin’s Astronomers

It’s little surprise that two of Oberlin’s most venerable astronomers—Observatory and Planetarium Coordinator Dave Lengyel and Emeritus Professor of Physics Dan Stinebring—are geeking out over the upcoming eclipse.

Drop in on Stinebring and Lengyel as they highlight in this video why they’re so excited for April 8—and why maybe you should be too.

Safely Viewing the Total Solar Eclipse

It’s not safe to look directly at the sun unless you are using eye protection specifically for solar viewing. Oberlin will provide eclipse viewing glasses that meet all safety guidelines.

Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun. Don’t view any part of the sun through a camera lens, binoculars, or a telescope without a special-purpose solar filter secured over the front of the lens. During the 3-4 minutes of totality—when the moon completely covers the sun—it is safe to remove your viewing glasses.

But that’s not all!

Watch for other eclipse-themed events in the days leading up to April 8, such as musical performances, night sky viewing from the Oberlin Observatory, and lectures by physics faculty.

Check back here or visit the Oberlin Events Calendar for updates.

Eclipse history

In May 1994, nearly 30 years ago, Oberlin students witnessed an annular eclipse, a more common type of eclipse in which the moon obscures all but an outer ring of the sun. Whether an eclipse is total or annular depends on the distance between the sun, earth, and moon.

Black and white photo of student holding colander to see the shadow of an annular eclipse
Photo credit: Rick Sherlock, Courtesy of the Oberlin College Archives

Black and white photo of eclipse shadow shining through colander onto paper

Crowd of people looking at 1994 annular eclipse through special glasses

Recent eclipse viewing

Oberlin's own Observatory & Planetarium Coordinator Dave Lengyel has captured the beauty of several eclipses across the country since 1994. On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse swept across a narrow portion of the contiguous United States, and an annular solar eclipse occurred on October 28, 2023.

'Diamond ring' effect: sunlight from behind the moon creates the shape of a diamond ring around the moon

The "Diamond Ring" effect is seen as the moon makes its final move over the sun during the total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017.

Photo credit: Dave Lengyel
Sunlight coming out from behind the darkened moon in a red crescent

An annular solar eclipse on October 28, 2023 created the illusion of a red crescent, or “ring of fire”, around the moon.

Photo credit: Dave Lengyel