2024 solar eclipse preparations in home stretch in Carbondale, Chicago's Adler Planetarium

Saturday, April 6, 2024
Excitement builds for Monday's solar eclipse
Whether staying in Chicago, traveling downstate or seeking out other parts of the path of totality, the Chicago area was buzzing with excitement for Monday's solar eclipse.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Come Monday, millions of people will be looking up to the sky to witness a total solar eclipse and as one of the states in the path of totality, Illinois preparations for the phenomenon are in the home stretch.

Total solar eclipse in Southern Illinois

You will only see a true total solar eclipse in southern Illinois, where the largest city in the path of totality is Carbondale.

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The eclipse begins around 12:43 p.m. Central Time. In Carbondale, about 50% of the sun will be covered by about 1:27 p.m., then half an hour later the big show will begin at 1:59 p.m. Carbondale will experience a total solar eclipse that is expected to last about four minutes and 10 seconds before the moon moves out of the area.

Lots of locals are packing up to head south for the weekend, excited to bask in a total eclipse.

Maureen Joy and John Gamble of Batavia are packed up and ready to take their RV to a southern Illinois campground that she reserved about a year ago.

"To see what happens at totality, how cold it gets, what the birds do, you know, if everyone gets hushed, and just kind of a surreal experience, I think," she said.

"It wasn't really on my radar, and it was on hers. And so it's like, yeah absolutely, I'm in. And then as we're getting closer, it's like oh this will be really, really cool," said Gamble.

A team from the Adler Planetarium in Chicago is headed down to Carbondale to emcee a watch party at Southern Illinois University's Saluki Stadium. So is University of Chicago astronomy professor Josh Frieman and dozens of his students.

"We're going to be in a football stadium at Southern Illinois University. I imagine the cheering will be as loud or louder than if they're football team just scored a touchdown," he said.

2024 solar eclipse will give Chicago quite a show

Chicago may only be getting 94% totality, but it'll still be quite the show and the Adler Planetarium is preparing to welcome thousands of spectators.

But just because totality is down south doesn't mean there won't be a show here in the city.

In fact, Chicago should experience about 94% eclipse coverage, and the Adler is ready for it.

READ MORE: Adler Planetarium solar eclipse celebrations include free outdoor event, eclipse glasses giveaway

"We'll be doing a big eclipse event here at the planetarium, a free outdoor event called Eclipse Encounter," said Hunter Miller, public observing educator at the Adler. "You'll be able to look at some projections of the solar eclipse through telescopes. We'll be handing out a limited supply of solar viewers to make sure you can safely look at the eclipse."

The timeline for the eclipse in Chicago is a little different, since it's not in the path of totality. The city's partial solar eclipse will begin around 12:51 p.m., and by 1:33 p.m. nearly 50% of the sun will be covered. By 2:07 p.m., Chicago will be at our maximum solar eclipse coverage, 93.9%.

Slap on your solar eclipse glasses and head up to the top of the former Hancock building as the 360 Chicago will welcome viewers for Monday's celestial phenomenon.

SAFETY FIRST: Everything you need to enjoy the eclipse safely including solar glasses and more

In the former Hancock building, 360 Chicago will also be open and hosting a viewing party.

"We've got unobstructed views, so our guests will be able to follow the path of the eclipse as it moves through the Chicago sky," said Nichole Benolken, managing director.

The show in the sky will be over in Chicago around 3:21 p.m.

Solar eclipse glasses: Wear them the entire eclipse, don't take them off!

If you're watching the eclipse in Chicago or anywhere outside complete totality, make sure you are using your solar eclipse viewing glasses and keep them on the entire time.

The only time it is considered safe to look directly at the sun is during the brief total phase of the eclipse, when coverage is at 100%, which in Southern Illinois will last just a bit more than four minutes.

The moment the moon moves to even 99% coverage, you will sustain eye injuries, which can be severe, NASA warns.

Eclipse-themed products made in Illinois

Daniel Thomas with the Illinois Office of Tourism joined ABC7 Friday to talk about the impact the upcoming total solar eclipse will have on the state's tourism economy.

Daniel Thomas with the Illinois Office of Tourism joined ABC7 to talk about the impact the upcoming total solar eclipse will have on the state.