CARBONDALE, Ill. — The Latest on the total solar eclipse in Illinois (all times local):
Patrick Schueck of Little Rock, Arkansas, brought his 10-year-old twin daughters to southern Illinois to see Monday’s total solar eclipse.
The construction company president and his family set up at the Bald Knob Cross of Peace in Alto Pass, which is a more than 100-foot high cross on top a 1,000 foot tall mountain. Schueck called the eclipse “one of the most moving experiences” he’s ever had. He said it was “as if the sun set and rose within about three minutes.”
Nearby, the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois saw the longest stretch of darkness: 2 minutes and 44 seconds. Organizers at the cross site expected more than 700 people.
Schueck said the eclipse also was “an excellent opportunity to do something with my daughters that they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.”
Despite occasional clouds the Chicago Park District held solar eclipse viewing parties in 20 parks.
Families and co-workers arrived by the dozens as the sky grew darker and the air cooler on Monday afternoon. Chicago resident Kenya Duran worried about her 5-year-old son’s eyes as she sat on a blanket with him in Hamlin Park. She built a viewing box from instructions on the Internet, and she had a pair of eclipse viewing glasses.
Nathan drew a picture of a sad-faced sun with a smiling moon above it. He was in the picture too, wearing his eclipse glasses.
Nearby, three generations of 12-year-old Shreyas Verma’s family watched together as the eclipse neared. His grandfather Rakesh Johri called the eclipse “a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
About 14,000 people filled Southern Illinois University’s Saluki Stadium in Carbondale to watch Monday’s total solar eclipse.
SIU spokeswoman Rae Goldsmith says some clouds appeared about 6 minutes before the eclipse was to reach totality and “the entire stadium was cheering the clouds away.” Goldsmith says during the totality it was very quiet in the stadium but “at the end of it people were giving each other high fives” and there was more cheering.
Experts have said the eclipse was to reach its great point of duration a few miles south of Carbondale.
The school’s event included 20-person suites for $10,000. SIU also had live eclipse video on the stadium scoreboard and marching band performances. Eclipse safety glasses were provided.
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner attended the viewing event.
Thousands of people were preparing to watch Monday’s solar eclipse in Illinois, many in the southern part of the state where a total eclipse is expected.
In Carbondale, Southern Illinois University’s eclipse event at the school’s football Saluki Stadium was sold out. The school planned to broadcast live eclipse video on the scoreboard, provide eclipse safety glasses and have performances from the Marching Salukis. Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office said he would attend.
Debbie Dunn is in charge of parking cars in nearby Makanda. She’s been preparing for months and said as many as 90 people were scouting spots early Monday.
The eclipse was expected to reach totality in southern Illinois Monday afternoon.
A partial eclipse was expected in Chicago but skies turned cloudy. The city’s lakefront Adler Planetarium held an eclipse block party.