Imagine being in the Middle of Everything to witness a twice-in-a-lifetime astronomical event. If you make your way to Southern Illinois, you'll get that chance.
A solar eclipse is a rare, celestial event that occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun, causing the sun to be partially or completely obscured from view as observed from a specific region on Earth. This happens because the moon's shadow is cast onto the Earth's surface, blocking or partially covering the sun's light.
On April 8, 2024, a total solar eclipse is set to occur, marking the final one visible from the United States until the year 2045.
This celestial event will pass through a path of totality encompassing 13 states, including Illinois.
While a partial solar eclipse will be visible across the entire country including much of the rest of Illinois, the special characteristics of a total solar eclipse can only be experienced within the narrow path of totality that will traverse Southern Illinois - specifically in areas such as Carbondale. It is only within this specific region and during this precise moment that you can observe the sky transitioning to darkness, resembling nighttime, as the Moon completely obstructs direct sunlight and unveils the solar corona—the Sun's outer atmosphere.
This means only residents of Southern Illinois and visitors alike will have the rare, unique opportunity to see this truly remarkable event and be witness to the rare astronomical phenomenon known as a total solar eclipse. Carbondale is on the center-line of the path of totality and will see 4 minutes and 9 seconds of totality for eclipse 2024 (nearly double what was seen in 2017). For other spots to view the eclipse in Illinois, keep reading!
If you're planning to travel, then here's your guide on how to prepare for the 2024 Solar Eclipse including what you'll need to bring with you, the best places to see the eclipse, events, and more. Let's have a solar-bration!
Before embarking on your eclipse adventure, take a moment to delve into all things out-of-this-world by visiting these planetariums and observation centers. These celestial phenomena have fascinated humanity for centuries, and understanding them can add a whole new layer of wonder to your experience.
As you head off on your road trip to Southern Illinois, there's a bounty of iconic attractions and features to stop by along the way.
Is a dragon really a dragon without fire-breathing? Of course not. And this ferocious metallic statue in Vandalia agrees. On your way to experiencing something celestial, stop by this attraction for a fun dose of mythical.
Yes, seeing a total eclipse will make you feel small. But so will the town of Casey just off of Interstate 70. Host to a variety of larger-than-life attractions like the world’s largest rocking chair, mailbox, golf tee and driver, pencil, keys, and so much more. This town will make you feel like you’ve just stumbled upon a lost suburb of giants.
For those history lovers, Fort Massac is Illinois’s first state park and home to a wooden fort built by French soldiers in 1757.
Metropolis is the home of Superman! Take a photo with the 15-foot-tall statue of the Man of Steel. A statue of Lois Lane is also located nearby. And be sure to visit the world's largest collection of Superman memorabilia at the Superman Museum.
Keep an eye out for a variety of hosted activities related to the eclipse, plus enjoy all the amenities on offer including a spacious indoor/outdoor pool, fine dining venues, and a variety of gaming and entertainment.
Don't forget to visit a few local state parks and rolling hills to get in some of your steps and take in the wondrous beauty of the natural landscapes that surround you.
Seasonal waterfalls, awe-inspiring bluffs, and rugged canyons dominate the storied landscape at Starved Rock. Rich with history and beauty, Starved Rock’s hiking trails meander through towering trees and scenic overlooks along the Illinois River.
Located in central LaSalle County, approximately four miles south of Utica and three miles east of Oglesby, Matthiessen is a paradise for those interested in geology as well as recreation.
With nearly 8,000 acres of scenic beauty, Pere Marquette State Park is one of the most picturesque and beautiful locations on the Illinois River and the largest state park in Illinois.
LaRue-Pine Hills is one of the most unique areas in the world. As with many places in the Shawnee National Forest, the beauty we see today is rooted in geologic history. Scenic drives, hiking, and camping are available.
The Path of Totality will span across 13 states. A large section of Southern Illinois lies along the path, hitting multiple towns and cities. Take a look at the map below and see which parts of Southern Illinois lie within the Path of Totality, so you can discover which places will be best to view the eclipse!
As you travel down to Southern Illinois, you might be wondering what essentials you'll need to bring with you to have a great solar eclipse road trip. We got you.
Whether you're staying in Makanda, Carbondale or anywhere else in the southern region of Illinois for the solar eclipse, there are plenty of lodgings and accommodations to meet your resting needs.
But please note! Already, many accommodations are selling out, so you might have to dig around to find available options around the eclipse date.