Skip To Main Content

Under the Dome

Join Mr. Oldfield each month Under the Dome for a family friendly look at the night's sky!  

When: 7pm on the second Saturday of each month throughout the school year. 

Where: Smith Middle School Planetarium
3625 Little York Road
Dayton, OH 45414

Cost: Free

Who: Everyone!

Under the Dome Show Schedule

There are no events to display

About Mr. Oldfield

Mr. Oldfield grew up on Florida’s Space Coast watching rocket launches as his father worked for NASA.  He attended Satellite High on his way to getting his teaching degree from the University of Central Florida.  After moving to Ohio, he first taught at Murlin Heights Elementary before going back to school.  Now Mr. Oldfield splits his time between the High School where he teaches several different subjects, and Smith where he runs the planetarium and teaches 5th grade astronomy.  Between four different buildings, subbing, and the planetarium Mr. Oldfield has taught EVERY grade level, PreK-12.  In his free time Mr. O likes to surf and chase eclipses; he has seen three total eclipses and is excited about the next one in 2024!


Mr. Oldfield's Top 10 Tips for Viewing the Total Solar Eclipse

1. Monday, April 8: Clear the entire day Likely a day to travel, plan accordingly, and be prepared to leave early and not return until late at night. 

2. Be mobile There is a high probability that clouds will interfere with viewing the eclipse.  It is likely that a last minute change of location based on weather may make the difference.  Be sure to fill up your gas tank the day before.

3. Study the weather Come April, start keeping an eye on the "Predicted Cloud Cover" percentage for individual cities along the path of totality so you can pivot to one with less cloud coverage when needed.  Predictions can change by the hour.  Try "Dayton Clear Sky Chart".4. Pack Gear No individual should be without cardboard eclipse glasses, but there are many other superior, relatively low-cost options.

4. Pack gear No individual should be without cardboard eclipse glasses, but there are many other superior, relatively low-cost options.  I recommend a piece of #14 welder's glass ($5-$15) and solar binoculars ($20-$250). Regular binoculars, used briefly during totality, are recommended as well. Acquire and practice w/your gear ASAP. Glasses from 2017 are still good as long as they don’t have a hole/leak. American Paper Optics, Rainbow Symphony, Celestron, Orion and Lunt are a few of the many reputable dealers. 

5. Stick to the centerline The duration of totality is dependent on how close you are to the exact center of the path of the shadow. You want to maximize your time in totality.   It is worth the hassle and expense to get as close to the center as possible.

6. Have a plan Weeks in advance, google search: “Xavier Eclipse” and explore the map of the April 8 eclipse found there.  Zoom in towards the center line and find a park, lake, etc. as close as possible.  Be sure to go there in person beforehand to confirm it’s suitable for viewing and that it’s not private or tickets won’t be required.

7. Have a backup plan Predetermine how far you are willing to drive if weather conditions dictate.  Check the map north and south along the path to see possible alternatives.  Prepare a list of these places so you can readily check their percent of cloud prediction and decide accordingly.

8. Arrive early, stay late At minimum, you should plan to be settled at your viewing site a full hour before first contact of the eclipse, ~1:53 PM Dayton, OH.  Immediately after totality, 90% of people will try to beat the rush; this is futile.   If the weather is clear, the traffic will not be, on a scale you cannot imagine.  Instead, sit back, enjoy a picnic, and let yourself fully absorb what you just witnessed.

9. Be provisioned Have all three meals thought out/ready the day before. You’ll definitely want to bring extra snacks and drinks as well. After totality, we put out a full spread and eat in the car if necessary. Champaign is traditional afterwards, but not for the driver!

10. Maps, cellphones, cash, bathrooms, pets, cameras, kids Have a paper map and pre-mark the path on it. Don’t expect cellphones to work. Don’t expect vendors to be able to process credit cards/electronic transactions. Don’t expect to have a restroom handy for hours-HAVE A PLAN.  Be sure pets are allowed and remember they get hungry too.  Don’t waste your time trying to take pictures.  Bring something to keep children entertained, and be sure to take electronic devices away from them during the eclipse so they can fully experience it!