Nine eclipse events in downstate Illinois

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — The eclipse is less than two weeks away, and organizations in Illinois are coming up with more ways to view the rare astronomical event.

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign astronomy professor Leslie Looney recommends anyone who has the ability to, to travel into the path of totality.

“Partial solar eclipses are interesting, but they pale compared to totality,” Looney said in an interview with University of Illinois’ News Bureau. “If you can do it, try to get to the path of totality. It is worth it.”

Illinois prepares for large crowds ahead of solar eclipse next month

The professor notes the event is not only an interesting tourist attraction but also an important time for scientific discovery.

“When the moon blocks out the bright solar surface, we can see the beautiful outer layers of the sun’s atmosphere and their wispy structures,” Looney said. “Scientists can use this time to study the corona and better understand how the sun powers our solar system.”

Without the sun, Looney also notes there will be a temperature drop and most birds and animals will be silent during totality due to the sudden shift.

The next total solar eclipse won’t be visible in the continental U.S. until 2044, in parts of Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Where can I get solar eclipse glasses?

Eclipse Events in Central Illinois

Various organizations in Central Illinois are hosting watch parties and other celebrations for the rare astronomical event.

Partial Eclipse:

Total Eclipse Events:

  • The Effingham Performance Center is offering a tailgating viewing party in its parking lot. The tickets are $50 for the two parking spaces: one to hold a vehicle and one to sit in. Concessions and indoor restrooms are available. Glasses will be provided while supplies last.

  • Visit Effingham is promoting several events to do on April 8 in the city on its website for tourists.

  • Illinois 4-H is partnering with the Thrillville Thrillbillies to throw a watch party at the MTN DEW Park in Marion. Tickets are $10 each and include parking and a free pair of eclipse glasses. They can be purchased on the Thrillbillies’ website.

  • The Macon County Conservation District is offering a van road trip to SIU’s Eclipse Day at Saluki Stadium in Carbondale. The van leaves at 7:30am and arrives 6pm. Eclipse-viewing glasses will be provided by SIU. Tickets cost $60 per person for admission, transportation, and parking, and SIU is offering eclipse glasses. Registration can done online on the Macon County Conservation District’s website and closes on April 5.

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