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2024 Eclipse Begins:

Illinois Total Solar Eclipse: April 8th

Experience the extraordinary 2024 Illinois solar eclipse. Learn how to view this celestial phenomenon safely from prime spots in Carbondale and Shawnee National Forest.
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    The Eclipse Returns to Illinois

    On April 8th, 2024, an extraordinary celestial event will unfold over the state of Illinois – a total solar eclipse. Starting around 12:42pm Central Daylight Time, the moon will begin to pass directly in front of the sun, progressively blocking its light and casting Illinois into an awe-inspiring dimming.

    By approximately 1:58pm, the eclipse will reach its peak point of totality, the moon fully obscuring the sun’s blinding surface and revealing the ethereal corona. This dazzling solar eclipse will trace a path across the state, treating residents to an unforgettable display in the early afternoon sky.

    family wearing solar eclipse glasses

    For southern Illinois in particular, the 2024 eclipse marks a remarkable recurrence of cosmic fortune. On August 21st, 2017, the state bore witness to “The Great American Eclipse”, which saw southern Illinois included in the eclipse’s “path of totality” and earned the distinction of the point of greatest duration for the phenomenon. Now, just seven years later, an eclipse of similar magnitude again graces Illinois, demonstrating the region’s uncanny draw of these sensational celestial events.

    Southern Illinois’ Unique Role

    Southern Illinois was distinguished as the “point of greatest duration” during the monumental 2017 Illinois total solar eclipse that captivated the nation. While the period of totality topped out at merely 2 minutes and 40 seconds in areas like Oregon, the southwest tip of Illinois reached a remarkable 2 minutes and 44 seconds bathed in the moon’s shadow. Small towns like Makanda became bustling hubs for eclipse enthusiasts and amateurs alike, with its prime position directly in the path of totality.

    Southern Illinois, particularly Jackson and Union counties, witnessed droves of visitors from across the globe converge to experience the rare celestial event. While the 2024 eclipse shifts the point of greatest duration south to Mexico, Southern Illinois retains its status as an ideal location to witness the mesmerizing solar phenomenon once again.

    The opportunity to observe two total solar eclipses from the same vantage point in less than a decade remains an extraordinary prospect for skywatchers.

    Unique Eclipse Path Through Illinois

    The upcoming 2024 eclipse offers a twist from the previous Illinois total solar eclipse that captivated the nation back in 2017. While Southern Illinois held the coveted spot of “point of greatest duration” seven years prior, the shifting moon’s shadow will place the new pinnacle viewing spot across the border in Mexico on April 8th, 2024.

    2024 Illinois total solar eclipse path for april 8th

    Despite this change, Illinois residents still have cause for excitement. Makanda, a small village in Southern Illinois, has earned the moniker of the “Eclipse Crossroads of America.” This is due to the rare intersection of the paths of totality from both the 2017 and 2024 eclipses near the town. The opportunity to witness two remarkable Illinois total solar eclipses from the same vantage point within just seven years is an extraordinary chance for eclipse chasers and astronomers alike.

    Eclipse Crossroads of America

    Southern Illinois holds a unique distinction in the annals of US eclipse history due to the intersection of both the 2017 and 2024 eclipse paths near the town of Makanda. This extraordinary positioning makes the area a pivotal hotspot for eclipse enthusiasts across the nation and even the world.

    With the two paths crisscrossing each other, individuals in Southern Illinois now have the remarkable opportunity to witness two astounding Illinois total solar eclipses within just seven years and from the same locations. The 2017 eclipse, whose path of totality sliced diagonally across the country from Oregon to South Carolina, held its point of greatest duration over Southern Illinois. Fast forward to 2024, and Mexico will become the new top spot, with Southern Illinois playing more of a supporting role. However, for those who experienced 2017’s spectacle in the area, 2024 offers a chance to relive the magic all over again.

    The positioning enables eclipse chasers to truly immerse themselves in the science and spectacle again and again. From Shawnee National Forest to Carbondale and all across the sweeping landscape, the distinctive merger of these two rare paths has cemented Southern Illinois as the veritable “Eclipse Crossroads of America.” For a brief window in our lifetimes, this corner of the country becomes the focal point of an awe-inspiring astronomical event, one that binds together an enthralled community under the cascading darkness.

    Prime Viewing Spots Within the Path of Totality

    When the moon’s shadow traverses Illinois on April 8th, 2024, several locations throughout the state will be enveloped in complete darkness. Two optimal viewing destinations for experiencing the full wonder of totality are Carbondale and Shawnee National Forest.

    Carbondale: The Ideal Hub for Eclipse Enthusiasts

    Located directly within the path of totality, Carbondale offers an extraordinary 4 minutes and 8 seconds of complete eclipse viewing. Given the city’s proximity to the intersection of the previous 2017 eclipse path, Carbondale provides eclipse aficionados with an unparalleled opportunity to witness two remarkable celestial events from nearly the same vantage point.

    With the eclipse occurring around 1pm, spectators can enjoy the progression of the moon’s shadow as day shifts to an eerie twilight. As totality approaches, the sun’s corona will become visible, surrounding the moon in a striking halo of light. The eclipse’s maximum duration over Carbondale allows for ample time to take in the magnificent solar spectacle above.

    Shawnee National Forest

    Stretching across Southern Illinois, Shawnee National Forest finds itself completely enveloped by the eclipse’s path of totality. The forest’s vast acreage and minimal light pollution make it an ideal location for viewing the celestial show.

    Shawnee’s positioning near several intersecting interstates, including I-57, I-24, and I-64, offers accessibility to individuals traveling from various regions of the state. Locals and visitors alike can stargaze under the forest’s canopy, surrounded by the natural beauty of Shawnee.

    With the eclipse fully overtaking the sun for nearly 2 and a half minutes, Shawnee National Forest allows people to become one with the cosmos during this fleeting alignment of the sun, moon, and Earth.

    Carbondale: The Epicenter of the 2024 Eclipse

    Located almost directly beneath the center of the moon’s umbral shadow, Carbondale has been gifted the coveted title of “Epicenter” for the 2024 total solar eclipse. This west-central Illinois city of just over 25,000 residents found itself in a similar position back in 2017 and will once again play host to thousands of visitors from around the globe.

    With an eclipse magnitude of 1.0566, Carbondale will witness 4 minutes and 8 seconds of totality – the longest duration of total eclipse that will be seen by any American city. For comparison, the average duration of totality for the entire path is 3 minutes and 40 seconds. This extended glimpse of the sun’s ethereal corona will be an unforgettable experience for all who make the journey.

    Carbondale Eclipse: A Very Lucky City

    Carbondale rests within five miles of the point where the paths of the 2024 and 2017 eclipses intersect, making it one of the only places on Earth where two total solar eclipses can be viewed just seven years apart. For dedicated eclipse chasers, the draw of this astronomical quirk is simply irresistible.

    The city is ideally situated to deliver an unobstructed view, with the sun reaching an altitude of 63 degrees as totality peaks. Whether watching from Carbondale proper or the surrounding Shawnee National Forest, residents and visitors alike will be richly rewarded if they position themselves anywhere within this southern Illinois hub.

    Shawnee National Forest – Within the Shadow

    Situated in the southern tip of Illinois, the breathtaking Shawnee National Forest finds itself fully enveloped within the eclipse’s path of totality. Spanning over 280,000 acres, this diverse landscape of rolling hills, rock formations, and lush wilderness offers an ideal backdrop for witnessing the celestial showcase.

    Interstates 57, 24, and 64 intersect the forest’s terrain, granting accessibility for travelers nearby and afar. Those venturing from the St. Louis vicinity need only an hour’s drive east on Interstate 64 to become immersed in the eclipse’s shadow. With the national forest’s expanse entirely steeped in darkness once the moon passes before the sun, viewers will bear witness to an unparalleled spectacle.

    The Shawnee National Forest presents a front-row seat to the eclipse, with the umbral shadow cutting directly through its heart. By positioning oneself within the forest’s natural splendor, the brief interlude of darkness will amplify a sense of wonder and connection to the universe. When the April 2024 eclipse traverses the skies above Southern Illinois, the Shawnee will offer an unbeatable vantage point.

    List of Illinois Cities in the Path of Totality

    *Duration denotes the total time of the eclipse, measured in minutes and seconds

    CityTotality StartDuration*
    Tamms1:58:48 PM CDT3:50
    Chester1:58:55 PM CDT3:25
    Alto Pass1:58:57 PM CDT4:09
    Murphysboro1:59:09 PM CDT4:06
    Makanda1:59:10 PM CDT4:08
    Carbondale1:59:16 PM CDT4:08
    Marion1:59:44 PM CDT4:07
    Benton2:00:03 PM CDT4:06
    Harrisburg2:00:27 PM CDT3:53
    Mount Vernon2:00:35 PM CDT3:45
    Golconda2:00:39 PM CDT2:51
    McLeansboro2:00:43 PM CDT4:07
    Centralia2:00:58 PM CDT2:44
    Mill Shoals2:01:11 PM CDT4:07
    Fairfield2:01:19 PM CDT4:03
    Salem2:01:20 PM CDT2:47
    Carmi2:01:21 PM CDT4:01
    Albion2:01:45 PM CDT4:06
    Kinmundy2:01:51 PM CDT2:21
    Olney2:02:12 PM CDT3:50
    Mount Carmel2:02:16 PM CDT4:03
    Effingham2:03:26 PM CDT0:49
    Marshall2:04:04 PM CDT2:35
    Paris2:05:14 PM CDT0:41

    Travel Tips

    For those looking to immerse themselves in the full splendor of the 2024 total solar eclipse, traveling east from St. Louis along Interstate 64 is highly recommended. This route will guide spectators directly into the path of totality, offering front-row views of the moon entirely blocking the sun over Southern Illinois.

    As the eclipse approaches, the sky will gradually dim, with the temperature dropping rapidly. The full eclipse occurs as the moon aligns precisely between the sun and Earth. At that moment, the glorious corona – the sun’s outer atmosphere – becomes visible, transforming a bright sunny day into an awe-inspiring twilight.

    By journeying eastbound on I-64, viewers can chase the moon’s shadow in motion as it traverses the state. This allows observers to extend their viewing time and witness the eclipse’s progression through its partial phases into full totality, then back again as the moon passes. It’s an ideal route for experiencing the eclipse in its entirety.

    The interstate crosses directly through the area where the eclipse’s path of totality will be at its widest in Illinois, providing breathtaking views of totality with the maximum possible duration. For eclipse chasers looking to make the most of this extraordinary celestial event, take to the open roads along I-64 through Southern Illinois. An unforgettable solar spectacle awaits.

    Illinois Eclipse Timeline

    The remarkable solar eclipse will eventually depart Illinois around 3:20pm CDT on April 8th, 2024. As the moon’s shadow makes its swift traverse across the state, it will cover approximately 129 miles in just over 4 minutes before vanishing over the Wabash River.

    For those positioned in Southern Illinois near the point of longest duration, the darkness will gradually give way to light as the moon moves along its celestial path. Looking westward, spectators can witness the returning sunlight rapidly cascading across the landscape.

    Within minutes, the eclipse will have left Illinois, culminating an exceptional journey across the state. Residents will have borne witness to a rare alignment of the cosmos and an extraordinary phenomenon of nature.

    Many will have seen their first total solar eclipse, an event seared into memory and legend. But for those who recall 2017, will reflect on an even more profound privilege of observing two astounding eclipses from the same remarkable viewing grounds in less than a decade.

    group of school children wearing solar glasses

    With the moon’s shadow now departing westward over Indiana, we bid farewell to the 2024 eclipse over the Land of Lincoln. Yet its legacy and the shared experience it brought will linger as a milestone for all who witnessed it. The eclipse may have left, but its spirit remains imprinted on the people of Illinois.

    Buy Solar Eclipse Glasses in Illinois

    As the 2024 solar eclipse nears, Illinois is gearing up to partake in this celestial event. Ensuring proper eye protection during this moment is essential. Acquire your specially designed solar eclipse glasses from Illinois’s trusted sources promptly, particularly in light of the expected high demand for the event.

    1. Our Online Eclipse Store: Our unwavering commitment to safety and quality is evident in our top-tier solar eclipse glasses, which are in line with the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard. Reflecting on the last solar eclipse, our stock was rapidly acquired by eager viewers. Anticipating the heightened interest in the upcoming event, a similar scenario is foreseeable. We suggest that you access our online eclipse store posthaste to procure your glasses.
    2. Retail Stores: Various optical stores and astronomy-focused outlets in Illinois are potential sources of solar eclipse glasses. Nevertheless, as the event approaches, availability might become scarce.
    3. Local Libraries and Educational Institutions: Some of these institutions might distribute solar eclipse glasses in tandem with their informative programs. Solely depending on these entities might be inadvisable due to probable stock limitations.
    4. Online Retailers: Outside of our eclipse store, there are numerous other online vendors potentially offering solar eclipse glasses. It’s crucial to select vendors who rigorously adhere to safety norms and maintain a good reputation.
    5. Museums, Planetariums, and Astronomy Clubs: Organizations of this nature in Illinois might have solar eclipse glasses on hand. However, due to the anticipated surge in interest, availability might be constrained, emphasizing the importance of early acquisition.

    Being well-prepared for the 2024 solar eclipse in Illinois is of utmost importance. While there are a variety of channels to buy solar eclipse glasses in Illinois, the importance of swiftly securing a certified pair cannot be understated. Reflecting on previous purchasing patterns, it is projected that our online store inventory will deplete swiftly. Take action now to ensure a protected and awe-inspiring viewing experience.

    Viewing Safety

    Watching a solar eclipse can be a breathtaking experience, but safety must be the top priority. Proper eye protection is essential when viewing an eclipse. Looking directly at the sun, even when it is partially covered by the moon, can cause serious eye damage or blindness.

    The only safe way to look directly at the sun is through special-purpose solar filters or handheld solar viewers made specifically for solar eclipse viewing. Sunglasses, smoked glass, unfiltered binoculars, or telescopes will NOT provide adequate eye protection. Always inspect solar eclipse glasses and viewers before use to make sure they are not scratched, creased, or damaged.

    Certified solar eclipse glasses that comply with the ISO 12312-2 safety standard are recommended. These glasses are printed with a specific ISO number confirming they block sufficient light. Some trustworthy online retailers selling ISO-compliant eclipse glasses include Rainbow Symphony, American Paper Optics, and our own. Buy here.

    When purchasing in person, look for the ISO logo and number printed on the glasses. Reputable vendors of solar eclipse glasses include camera stores, museums, planetariums, and astronomy clubs.

    approved and certified solar eclipse glasses info

    Looking forward to the eclipse, the most important thing is to obtain proper eye protection ahead of time from a verified source. This will allow everyone to fully immerse themselves in this extraordinary spectacle as it moves across the Illinois skies in 2024. With the right solar filters or eclipse glasses, you can experience all the marvels of an Illinois total solar eclipse safely.

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