Eclipse over Illinois: As found from the NASA interactive eclipse map, the Moon’s shadow along the centerline crosses the Mississippi River at Rockwood, Illinois at 1:18:55 PM Central Daylight Time (18:18:55 Universal Time). In Rockwood, totality lasts 2 minutes, 40 seconds and the path of totality is 71 miles wide.
The path of totality crosses the southern tip of the state of Illinois, and passes over considerable park land. Giant City State Park, just south of Carbondale, Illinois, is the point of greatest duration along the path of totality. This is not the same as the point of greatest eclipse, but is determined by several variables with the Earth’s shape and rotation.
At the greatest duration, totality begins at 1:20:29 PM, and lasts for precisely 2 minutes and 40.2 seconds. Along the centerline, the lunar umbra passes over 75 miles of the state of Illinois in the span of only 5 minutes, 48 seconds, at an average speed of 1436 miles per hour, or 1.88 times the speed of sound.
The Moon’s shadow along the centerline crosses the Ohio River at Homberg, Illinois at 1:24:43 PM CDT (18:24:43 UT). At Homberg, the duration of totality is 2 minutes, 40.2 seconds and the path of totality at the eastern border is 71.2 miles wide.
NOTE: Duration of totality is longest along the centerline. Duration of totality approaches ZERO near the edges of the path of totality. Please consult the NASA interactive eclipse map for precise times and durations of totality at each specific location in the state, along with locals times for the beginning and ending of the partial eclipse phases.
Lodging: As with all locations along the path, hotel reservations will fill up well in advance. Plan instead to tent camp or rent an RV. While there are many commercial and public campgrounds, primitive camping is inexpensive in the National Parks and free in the National Forests.
Visit the following in Illinois: Shawnee National Forest.
Traffic Concerns: In the event of any last-minute, impromptu eclipse day trippers, there might be a lot of traffic heading south toward Carbondale on I-57 from the Illinois cities. If a lot of vehicles from Chicago hit the road at the same time, this could result in heavy traffic volume through the length of the state. In addition to being marketed as the “greatest duration,” the Carbondale area is the closest geographic point along the path of totality to the western Great Lakes population centers, and a volume of traffic might be expected from Milwaukee, Indianapolis, and western Michigan. From the south, the area is also geographically closest to Memphis and points south in Arkansas and Mississippi.
Weather: According to the Eclipsophile site, based on meteorological averages, southern Illinois is statistically more likely to experience clear afternoon weather than eastern Missouri or points to the east along the path of totality. However, late August is a generally dry time of year in southern Illinois, so this location might be desirable for those unable to visit the western states.
Planning Your Illinois Eclipse Vacation: Please read the resources on our Be Prepared! page for finding opportunities for overnight lodging at your Illinois eclipse viewing destination. Several eclipse festivities have been planned in this area, and they will be well-prepared for crowds of visitors. The path of totality passes over several state and national forests, allowing ample space for hosting prepared eclipse chasers. (I’ve personally always wanted to visit the world-famous Super Museum in Metropolis, Illinois, also along the path of totality.) Check out Enjoy Illinois for more information on planning your Illinois eclipse vacation.
Organized Eclipse Events in Illinois:
Eclipse 2017-2024 Southern Illinois – The main website for the Carbondale area, with detailed information of accommodations and all the festivities planned for this area, sponsored by Southern Illinois University.
Bald Knob Mountain – Eclipse Viewers! Bald Knob Mountain, in Alto Pass, IL is in the area of the point of greatest duration, the location where the total eclipse lasts the longest along the entire path. It is the highest point in the area and has 360 degree, unobstructed viewing. Tickets are on sale now for this rare event to view it from Bald Knob Mountain!
Moonstock – A 4 day Music Festival celebrating the Total Solar Eclipse is taking place at Walker’s Bluff, a picturesque vineyard located in beautiful southern Illinois. Running from August 18-21, the headliner will be Ozzy Obsbourne, who will take the stage at 1:20 PM, shortly before the eclipse begins.
Makanda Eclipse 2017 – The town of Makanda, south of Carbondale, is the precise area of greatest duration, and the crossroads of the 2017 and 2024 total solar eclipses. And they have big plans for hosting crowds of eclipse chasers!
Carbondale Eclipse – Carbondale is only a few miles north from the point of greatest duration. At approximately 1:20 p.m. CDT on August 21, 2017, you can experience the total solar eclipse for 2 minutes and 38 seconds! Sponsored by Carbondale Tourism.
This list is a work in progress! Please contact us if you know of any other Illinois eclipse events!