Carbondale, Illinois will see total solar eclipse for 2nd time in less than 10 years on Monday

SIU hosts second eclipse watch party in 7 years

ByLarry Mowry and Blanca Rios WLS logo
Wednesday, April 3, 2024
Total solar eclipse back in Carbondale, a 'twice in a lifetime' event
What time is the eclipse in Carbondale, Illinois? Many are asking, as the southern Illinois city is set to see 100% totality for the 2nd time in 10 years.

CARBONDALE, Ill. (WLS) -- The total solar eclipse strikes back for a swath of southern Illinois.

"It's our second solar eclipse in seven years," said Sara Vanvooren, Director of Events and Outreach at Southern Illinois University in Carbdondale. "I can't put into a category how rare this is."

Try once every 300-plus years. But somehow, the stars aligned-or in this case just one star, the earth, and the moon aligned. SIU will once again find itself in the path of totality on April 8, 2024. The last time was Aug. 21, 2017.

"This truly is your second-in-a-lifetime chance to have the opportunity to see a total solar eclipse," said Vanvooren.

RELATED: How to protect your eyes with solar eclipse glasses during 2024 event as IL is in path of totality

SIU is making a weekend out of it with a host of mostly free activities leading up to the main event.

"A lot of people who are locals think that total eclipses are normal," said Vanvooren. "We're excited for the event, we're excited for visitors but the nice thing is we've done this before, so we're prepared."

On eclipse day, Saluki Stadium is once again hosting a watch party and the university said it's prepared for an influx of 100,000 people.

READ MORE: Solar eclipse school closings: Over 60 IL schools to close so students can witness eclipse

"We do work with local hotels to try and keep their pricing down and reasonable for visitors," said Vanvooren. "But inevitably, it's up to those hotels to set their rates."

At last check, the average price for a one-night stay was about $500 dollars. But there are other more affordable ways to enjoy the show.

"There's also ample camping available," Vanvooren said.

There are at least 31 state parks, along with Shawnee National Park, in the path of totality.

RELATED: Illinois in path of totality for the 2024 solar eclipse; what to expect in Chicago

But you'll have lots company on the roads on your drive back home.

"We have found from past experience that people are just going to hop on the road. People just need to be prepared. The only way around that is to delay your travel a day or plan to leave later on Monday the 8th." said Vanvooren.

Last month, the Illinois Department of Transportation held a media briefing to make sure eclipse travelers were prepared on the roads.

"We are making every effort under our capabilities to minimize the impacts to travelling public," said Robert Graeff, IDOT's Bureau Chief of Operations for District 9.

Graeff said he's hoping the traveling public will come down ahead time and stay a while because traffic will be slow,.

"The biggest thing that I can stress is patience." "It's similar to a snow event. Have a full tank of gas. Have some water in the car," stressed Graeff.

ABC7s eclipse coverage begins Sunday night before the eclipse with meteorologists Larry Mowry in Carbondale, Greg Dutra in Indianapolis and Cheryl Scott at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago.