Illinois eclipse still a while away, but excitement building

By Gary Scott on May 4, 2016 at 12:53pm

If you want to see a total solar eclipse in Illinois in 2017, you might want to start making plans now.

That was the message this morning from Bob Baer, who is co-chairing an eclipse committee at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale for the August 21st event, starting just before noon.

Speaking on WLDS’ “What’s On Your Mind?” program, Baer said in the Midwest, the southern part of Illinois is the closest distance to a swath of the country that is in line to see the total eclipse.

“Hotels in this region tend to not do reservations until about a year before, but I would try to make your travel plans in advance. It’s not something you want to wait until the last minute to do,” says Baer. “This isn’t just a hop in the car the morning of, and drive and see it. it’s going to be a little hectic the day of the eclipse.”

This is the first total eclipse in the United States since 1979.

SIU-C plans on opening up its football stadium for eclipse viewing activities, and Baer says the region’s population could double. The school alone is expecting 30-to-50-thousand visitors.

Of course, if you don’t want to make the trip, Baer says West Central Illinois won’t be a bad spot to see the eclipse, even though it’ll only be partial.

“It’ll be a pretty good partial eclipse. You’ll get to about 90, 95 percent of partial. And what that means is, you’ll have just a thin sliver of the sun left,” he says. “Which, that’s interesting, but you have to have special solar eclipse glasses or use special techniques to look at it.”

The total eclipse is predicted to last less than three minutes, although the entire eclipse event will last around three hours.

You can listen to the full interview with Bob Baer by clicking below: