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Solar Eclipse 101: A Guide to Everything Solar Eclipse

On Monday, August 21st, 2017, a total solar eclipse will be visible in the continental United States. The sky will become dark, revealing the Sun’s faint atmosphere, the Corona, stars and planets will become visible, temperatures will drop, street lights will turn on, and nocturnal insects, like cicadas and crickets will buzz and chirp.  

A solar eclipse is truly amazing, but the 2017 solar eclipse is particularly memorable for two reasons, the first being that it has been 38 years that a solar eclipse has occurred in the United States and second, is the first, in 99 years, to be seen across the width of America, from the west coast to the east coast as it passes through 14 states. Although totality is only visible in a narrow path, all 50 states, and parts of Canada and Mexico, will experience a partial eclipse.   

It is very important for Illinoisans because it is in Illinois when “totality”— when the Moon will completely block the light from the Sun— will be of the greatest duration (2 minutes and 40 seconds); that distinction will be near Carbondale, at 37.568 degrees North latitude and 89.1029 degrees West longitude.  Partial solar eclipse viewing is also spectacular and can be observed in the Illinois Valley area at 90.124% obscuration—that is that the Moon blocks out more than 90% of the Sun’s light.  In Illinois, the solar eclipse, will begin at 11:52 a.m., with totality from 1:20 p.m. to 1:22 p.m. and concluding at 2:47 p.m.

With a quick Google search yielding over 67 million hits, you might find yourself with information overload!  To save you time and being overwhelmed at where to start, we have accumulated a list of certified websites that include safe viewing tips for you and your animals, maps, activities, citizen scientist experiments and more.

NASA Eclipse 101

On this site, you can find information about safe viewing the eclipse, history of eclipses, maps, how eclipses work, misconceptions of eclipses and a glossary of terms.

NASA Eclipse Event Locations

On this site, find out about events happening in the United States, this includes Official NASA Viewing Locations (Illinois has several including Carbondale and SIU), local festivals/exhibits/parties, libraries that are participating in Solar Eclipse events (like us!), NASA Museum Alliance organizations, NASA Space Grant Ballooning Project (a collaborative effort to live stream the eclipse), Solar System Ambassador programs, and eclipse events happening in our National Parks along the path of totality.

NASA Eclipse Science

On this site, you can learn some of the unique observations NASA has planned for the Sun and Moon during the eclipse, including what YOU, as citizen scientists, can help!

NASA Interactive Map

With this interactive solar eclipse map, you can determine latitude and longitude, the duration of totality, magnitude, obscuration, and the beginning and end time of the Eclipse.  Accompanying the map is a page of instructions.

NASA Live Stream

NASA will host an Eclipse Megacast providing unique broadcast coverage across multiple platforms.  The Megacast will also be on NASA TV, as well as many other local and national TV stations.  NASA also will be broadcasting LIVE from Carbondale, the location in totality of the greatest duration.

Exploratorium Eclipse

Learn from videos, how to safely view a Solar Eclipse, about eclipses, and past eclipses.  Exploratorium will also be doing Live Streaming of the Eclipse from Oregon and Wyoming.   They also will have a streaming capabilities in Spanish, as well as one with a LIVE quartet. 

Southern Illinois University "Solar Eclipse Crossroads"

The Great American Eclipse

This site, published by Michael Zeiler and Polly White to educate the public on how to witness nature's greatest spectacle, a total eclipse of the Sun. On it, you can peruse best places to view totality, the splendor of totality, eclipse basics, eclipse phenomena, facts of the day, maps which include national, statistics, context, future eclipses, desktop backgrounds, information on the 2024 Solar Eclipse (which will be again going through Carbondale!), information on each of the states in totality (Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina), history of eclipses from the 17th century to present, a blog, educational resources, and their store for memorabilia.

American Astronomical Society

An invaluable portal to other eclipse-related websites and resources such as books, periodicals, citizen science projects, and much more. What is especially valuable on this authoritative website are the excellent instructions for safe viewing of the eclipse and ways to photograph and/or record the eclipse.

Eclipse Megamovie

The Eclipse Megamovie 2017 project is a collaboration of the Space Sciences Laboratory at UC Berkeley and Google which invites citizen scientists from throughout the nation to capture images of the total solar eclipse for synthesis into a highly detailed movie of the evolution of the Sun's corona.

Eclipse Soundscapes

During an eclipse, we gaze in amazement as day becomes night. But, along with the striking visual effects, the soundscape of natural environments changes dramatically. The changes in the sounds of the eclipse are not only of interest to sociologists, birders, and naturalists, but will also give the blind and visually impaired an opportunity to experience this rare celestial event.

The Eclipse Soundscapes project will use a specially designed app to allow citizen scientists to record environmental sounds before, during, and after the August 21, 2017 eclipse. These recordings will be shared across the world in order to give everyone the opportunity to experience the awe of a total solar eclipse.

Historical Eclipse Maps

Michael Zeiler, the publisher of Great American Eclipse, also operates this site, which focuses on historic eclipse maps.

Google Interactive Map for the Solar Eclipse

On this interactive map, you can determine latitude and longitude, the duration of totality, magnitude, obscuration, and the beginning and end time of the Eclipse

Rainbow Symphony

This company is one of four that are making the specialty eclipse glasses, and where the Library’s free supply came from.  Besides solar safety glasses, they make a variety of cool shades. Please note that ONLY ISO certified solar safety glasses can be used when viewing the solar eclipse!

Space Art Travel Bureau

Tyler Nordgren is a professor of astronomy and a gifted illustrator known for his wonderful posters of the night sky and eclipses. Tyler is at work now on a book for the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse.

Space: Total Solar Eclipse

Solar Eclipse’s Effect on Animals

As day becomes night when the Moon obscures the Sun, it can cause disruptions in the behavior patterns of wildlife and pets.  Keep your pets indoors during the Eclipse, and watch out, if you are driving, for wildlife, as they may be startled by the eclipse and dart out in front of cars.  Library staff is in contact with the Humane Society of the United States and the American Veterinary Medical Association to get more information on pet solar safety, including large animals, like horses.  We will update when that information becomes available. 

NOAA Eclipse

Department of the Interior’s Eclipse Page

2017 U.S. Solar Eclipse Travel & Discussion Group (Facebook)

This is an informal group, on Facebook, for those interested in seeing the August 21, 2017, total solar eclipse in the United States.  Locations, strategies, costs, and tips are discussed.  It is moderated by science/technology journalist and photographer Eric Adams (@ericadams321), contributor to Wired, Gear Patrol, Men's Health, Popular Science, and other outlets.

Solar Eclipse Events in Illinois

Eclipse 2017 at Southern Illinois University(Carbondale)
Friday, August 18th through 21st

In the path of both the 2017 and 2024 total solar eclipses, SIU Carbondale will host a wide range of Eclipse 2017 activities in partnership with NASA Eclipse 2017, NASA Edge, The Adler Planetarium of Chicago, and the Louisiana Space Consortium on August 18 – 21.  Activities include: The Crossroads Festival, Eclipse Comic-Con, Crossroads Eclipse 2017 Research Workshop, Crossroads Astronomy Science and Technology Expo, Planetary Radio Live Eclipse 2017 Panel Discussion, Crossroads Art and Craft Fair, and Eclipse Day at Saluki Stadium, a guided eclipse experience in Saluki Stadium, hosted by Mat Kaplan of The Planetary Society. A complete schedule of activities at the Eclipse Crossroads of America can be found at: eclipse.siu.edu.

Twice in a Lifetime Eclipse in River City(Chester)
Friday, August 18th through Monday, August 21st

Chester, Illinois will be providing educational programs, events and activities throughout the weekend. They will have a viewing site with vendors and educators.  More information can be found here: http://www.chestereclipse.com/events-and-times

Moonstock 2017 Music Festiva(Carterville)
Friday, August 18th through Monday, August 21st)

A four day music festival that leads up to the eclipse. Ozzy Osbourne will perform the song "Bark at the Moon" as the eclipse occurs!  For ticket information, see: https://www.moonstock2017.com/

Solar Celebration at Alto Vineyards(Alto Pass)
Friday, August 18th through Monday, August 21st

On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will reach it's greatest duration point a few miles south of Carbondale, Illinois. At Alto Vineyards, you are uniquely situated to enjoy a great view of the entire eclipse! Solar Celebration is a four-day event leading up to this once-in-a-lifetime experience.  Alto Vineyards welcomes families, friends, couples, and astronomy enthusiasts to come out and listen to some of southern Illinois' most talented musicians play some good tunes and watch the solar eclipse from a beautiful patio and wine deck.  For more information, go to: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/solar-celebration-at-alto-vineyards-tickets-29586969422
Total Eclipse at the Orlandini Vineyard(Makada)
Friday, August 18th through Monday, August 21
Join Orlandini Vineyard for the 2017 Solar Eclipse! Tasting room, live music daily, food, eclipse eyewear and much, much more!  For more information go to: http://www.carbondaleeclipse.com/event/total-eclipse-vines/
Carbondale Eclipse Marketplace(Downtown Carbondale)
Saturday, August 19th through Sunday, August 20th
Live music, great food, an unforgettable astronomical experience in Carbondale! 
Marketplace hours will be on Saturday and Sunday from 11a.m-8p.m and Monday from 8a.m-3p.m. For more information, go to: http://www.carbondaletourism.org/
Shadowfest 201(Downtown Carbondale)
Saturday, August 19th through Monday, August 21st

Six vibrant performances, three days of music and one FREE weekend of fun. The City of Carbondale and Carbondale Main Street are excited to announce the lineup for Shadow Fest.  The festival kicks off on Saturday, August 19th with performances by American Idiot, a tribute to Green Day; Big Love, a tribute to Fleetwood Mac; and Elevation, a tribute to U2. On Sunday, August 20, it’s all about the 80s. Johnny Rock-itt, That 80s Band and Superjam will take to the stage for the ultimate 80s experience. Festival goers can expect to hear hits from Kiss, AC/DC, Journey, Madonna, Prince and more.  Concerts will be held along Washington Street, between Walnut and Main Streets, from 5-11 p.m. Admission to all of the concerts are free.   Monday’s lineup will feature some local talent from 11am-5pm. 

Blue Sky Vineyard's Solar Eclipse Celebration(Makanda)
Friday, August 18th through Monday, August 21

Did you know that Blue Sky Vineyard is NASA’s Point of Longest Duration for the 2017 eclipse? In celebration, the vineyard is planning a four day event complete with Self Contained Camper parking, food, music, and even a special-label release wine! Truly a one-of-a-kind experience. Bring the kids, or share the experience with that special someone. For more information go to: http://www.blueskyvineyard.com/eclipse-2017

If you know an eclipse event happening in Illinois that is not on the list, please let us know and we will add it!