2017 solar eclipse favors southern Illinois - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

2017 solar eclipse favors southern Illinois

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CARBONDALE - The stars are aligning for Carbondale to be one of the best spots in the world to see the 2017 total solar eclipse.

Sunday marked exactly one year until the eclipse. A crowd gathered Sunday at the SIU student center auditorium to learn more about what to expect.

Bob Baer, co-chair for the eclipse planning committee, led the evening's events. 

"For the eclipse next year, we have done our planning on campus for an extra 30 to 50 thousand people," he said.

But Baer said if the weather turns out to be good, Carbondale could end up hosting far more people than initial estimates.  

"For the Midwest, Carbondale is one of the best spots to see the eclipse based on 10 year weather patterns," he said. 

SIU has partnered with NASA for the event, and people all over the world are already planning to make southern Illinois their viewing spot.

Judy and Henry Dillinger have lived in Carbondale their whole lives and plan to watch the eclipse in their own back yard.

"And as a matter of fact I have a telescope and we're going to plan on watching it through the telescope," Mr. Dillinger said. 

And Baer says now is the time to plan.

"If anyone is planning on doing an event in their community, I suggest strongly to them that they get out and see where the sun is at in the sky in the next week because that tells them where the sun is going to be for the solar eclipse," Baer said.

Representatives from NASA gave southern Illinoisans a preview of the exact path the 2017 eclipse will take. And in 2024, locals will be able to see yet another total solar eclipse, from their backyards.

Experts said the frequency of seeing a total solar eclipse from any one spot on the earth is about once in 375 years, revealing just how much southern Illinois is defying the odds. 

Baer said the total solar eclipse is expected to happen at 1:20 pm. He warned those who plan to watch, need to have proper eye wear.

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