Earth, Moon, Sun

Northern Illinois to experience 94% totality of April 8 solar eclipse

Posted 4/3/24

SPRINGFIELD – Preparations are underway to host thousands of visitors in Illinois for the Monday, April 8, 2024, total solar eclipse that will pass over the state.

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Earth, Moon, Sun

Northern Illinois to experience 94% totality of April 8 solar eclipse

Posted

SPRINGFIELD – Preparations are underway to host thousands of visitors in Illinois for the Monday, April 8, 2024, total solar eclipse that will pass over the state.

Staff from multiple state agencies – including the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Department of Natural Resources, Illinois State Police, Illinois Conservation Police, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and Office of Homeland Security, the Illinois Office of Tourism, and the Illinois Department of Public Health – have worked together for more than a year to ensure a safe and successful experience for the influx of eclipse watchers.

"For those who want to experience the magic of a total solar eclipse, come to Illinois," said Governor JB Pritzker. "My administration is diligently working to ensure that spectators safely experience this celestial event, while supporting southern Illinois' local economy."

Southern Illinois is in the path of totality for the second time since Aug. 21, 2017, making it the eclipse crossroads of America. Carbondale and Southern Illinois University are on the centerline of the path of totality and will see 4 minutes and 9 seconds of totality in 2024 - nearly double what was seen in 2017.

People in northern Illinois will experience an estimated 94% totality. The eclipse will enter the country and begin moving into Southwest Texas at around 12:30 p.m. In northern Illinois, parts of it will begin at 12:51 p.m. with the peak time around 2:07 p.m. By 3:22 p.m., the eclipse will move out of the area.

Southern Illinois University is hosting numerous educational and enrichment events during the four days of the eclipse weekend, culminating with a public viewing at the football stadium on April 8 and other activities. The weekend is expected to attract thousands of visitors to the region.

"We are glad to offer four days of festivities, education and research leading up to the eclipse, and we are proud to partner with NASA EDGE and Adler Planetarium on Eclipse Day for an unforgettable experience at Saluki Stadium," SIU Carbondale Chancellor Austin A. Lane said. "This is an exciting time for SIU Carbondale and the community."

Daniel Thomas, deputy director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Office of Tourism, said that in 2017, nearly 200,000 people witnessed the solar eclipse in southern Illinois, generating a visitor spending impact estimated between $15 million and $18 million.

"The solar eclipse is an incredible opportunity for Illinois to welcome visitors from across the Midwest and beyond, allowing them to discover the natural beauty of southern Illinois," Thomas said. "We recommend visitors arrive early to enjoy the weekend leading up to the eclipse and experience the many new hotel options in the area including the many outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, rock climbing, horseback riding, ziplining and embrace a real change of pace during this rare event."

While encouraging people to enjoy the unique experience of the solar eclipse, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is also reminding residents and visitors to take proper precautions to protect their health and safety during the event.

One of the main areas of concern is eye safety. IDPH reminds people that looking directly at a solar eclipse can cause serious or permanent eye damage. Standard sunglasses do not offer protection, no matter how dark, and are not safe for viewing the sun. To directly view the eclipse, people must use special safe eclipse viewers which meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard. Check the link https://eclipse.aas.org/eye-safety/viewers-filters to see if your eclipse viewers meet this standard.

Another way to safely view the eclipse is indirectly via pinhole projection. With your back to the sun, you can look at the shadow from the eclipse on the ground through a hole punched in an index card, an object with small holes like a pasta colander, or your fingers crossed over each other.

"It is important that Illinoisans experience the unique experience of this solar eclipse safely and carefully," said IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra. "Planning ahead and knowing where to turn for help in an emergency can ensure an enjoyable experience for everyone involved."

The next total solar eclipse in the United States is set to take place Aug. 12, 2045.

The next total solar eclipse with Chicago in a path of totality isn't until Aug. 4, 2111.