Cleveland: The Spot for Seeing the Solar Eclipse

by | Apr 4, 2024 | EA Staff News, Events & Festivals

As the solar eclipse approaches, everyone in the Path of Totality (Cleveland included) is making plans for where they will be and who they will be with to gaze heavenward on Monday, April 8th. If you haven’t made up your mind yet, here are some of the places (besides your own backyard) to watch the solar eclipse in Cleveland and in Akron. Wear protective glasses! Fingers crossed we have clear skies to watch this event. And to inspire you, listen to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Spotify solar eclipse playlist!

As our staff prepares to watch the eclipse from viewpoints all over our region, we had a conversation with Randy Furnas, spouse of EA’s Peg Furnas, who, until his recent retirement, was head of the Power Division at NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. We wanted the take from a NASA engineer on the eclipse and how Cleveland has contributed to the space program.

Executive Arrangements is ready for the solar eclipse!

Q.  There are only a handful of NASA locations, most of them seem to be on the coast. How did Cleveland snag a NASA field center?

A. During WWII, NASA was concerned about German subs attacking from the sea so putting one of its premier research facilities in the middle of the country made sense and Cleveland’s Midwest location was very intentional. While research centers  may be less glamourous than launch locations like Kennedy Space Center, they are dependent on the technology and research that comes out of research centers like ours. And on top of that, our state has a long history of being involved in flight, starting with the Wright Brothers building the first airplane in Dayton, Ohio.

Randy Furnas, former NASA engineer, awaits the solar eclipse – with proper eye protection!

Q. Does Cleveland specialize in any kind of research? What are we known for here?

A. Cleveland NASA leads the agency’s research in propulsion and power. All planes, jets and rockets need both propulsion (to push them off the ground and into the air or space) and power. NASA is working on next generation aircraft, including future hybrid models that use both electric and turbine (jet engine) power. Small hybrid aircraft are already being used in flight, but translating that to a 737-size aircraft is a different story. NASA’s research in propulsion will one day lead to aircraft that are more efficient, cleaner, less noisy and require less frequent charges to go longer distances.

Q.  How long will it take a rocket to get to Mars?

A. The timing of that trip has to be carefully orchestrated so that Earth and Mars orbits are aligned at the smallest possible distance.  And even then it will be at least a two year commitment from the crew that flies to Mars, with at least six months just to get there. And, the rocket can only carry enough fuel to get to Mars. The crew will have to use NASA research (much of it done by Cleveland) to manufacture fuel on Mars to return to Earth. Isn’t that fascinating?

Q. NASA attracts highly educated talent from all over the country to our town. What do we all take for granted that came out of research that began at NASA?

A. Microwave ovens, GPS, digital cameras, modern day water filters and batteries, cochlear implants….so many things.

Q. Is there life on other planets? Please say yes!

A. We will definitely find life on other planets, but I doubt if it will be intelligent life as we think of it. And if another civilization had the know how to get to Earth before we get to them, they will have had to travel thousands of light years to arrive here and so would be way more advanced than us. People wonder why we wouldn’t be aware of them, but if they can travel that distance, they can surely shield their spaceship from detection.

Q. Why do you think humans are so interested in events like eclipses?

A. I think it dredges up ancient mystical feelings and helps focus us all on the sky for one day instead of what’s happening on Earth. It brings us together to think about what could be and to dream. And, because the eclipse has Cleveland in the path of totality, it will be the only one in our lifetime where we don’t have to drive or fly somewhere to witness it.

For more than 40 years, Executive Arrangements has partnered with companies who recruit talent from all over the world to achieve their goals. We educate, acclimate, and connect candidates and their families to showcase the livability of our region. We give newcomers the roots they need to feel at home in our region, so they can gaze heavenward at solar eclipses and dream big. If your organization’s talent attraction and retention efforts could use a little boost. call us. 216.231.9311.