On August 21, 2017, the United States will experience the first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in nearly a century. A total eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly between the sun and the earth, completely covering the sun. Spanning in an arc from the coast of Oregon to the coast of South Carolina, the eclipse will pass through 12 states, including southern Illinois, at a pace of about one mile every two seconds.
Known as The Great American Eclipse, the 100-mile wide path will begin in Lincoln Beach, Oregon at 9:05 a.m. with totality there at 10:16 a.m. PDT. During the next hour and a half it will cross through the 11 other states. Only those in the direct path will be able to experience the sun totally hidden by the moon.
The area near Carbondale, Illinois, is right smack in the path. Total solar eclipse will happen there at 1:20 p.m. and last for 2 minutes, 37 seconds. Partial phases of the eclipse will begin at 11:52 a.m. and end at 2:47 p.m.
While Clinton County will not experience totality, we are ideally located to see the next best phase, the Mid-Eclipse. At this point, the moon’s shadow will be directly above, centered on the moon/sun and the horizon will show an even sunset-like brightness. The duration will be two minutes, 40 seconds—which doesn’t sound like much, but will feel like a long dark time in the middle of the day.
Find a nice open location where your view will not be obstructed by trees, grab a lawn chair and settle in for the show. Be sure not to look directly at the sun during this time as it could damage your eyes—unless you wear special filtered or eclipse glasses.
For more information on The Great American Eclipse in Illinois, click here.
To learn what Southern Illinois University and Carbondale have planned for the event, click here.