1,000 days until next total solar eclipse in the Heartland

Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 4:35 PM CDT
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CARBONDALE, Ill. (KFVS) - Astronomers are counting down the days until the next total solar eclipse.

In 2017, thousands gathered to watch the last total solar eclipse in the Heartland.

As of Tuesday, July 13, we are just 1,000 days away from the next total solar eclipse that is set to happen on April 8, 2024.

“The first thing most people say after they see one is when’s the next one,” said Robert Baer, specialist in the Physics Department at SIU Carbondale.

The next eclipse may not be for three years, but Baer said they are expecting to put on another big event.

“We’re looking at doing a three-day festival again, similar to what we did last time, probably using a bit more of the campus this time around,” explained Baer.

The festival won’t just be about the viewing of the moon getting between Earth and the sun.

“There will be a lot of education activities for families, for kids and their parents to see, learn a little bit more about the eclipse, learn about some of the science including some of the art around the eclipse,” said Baer.

Compared to the 2017 eclipse, the totality of the 2024 one will last a bit longer.

“Here on campus, we are looking at about 4 minutes and 9 seconds of totality, which means it’s going to be dark for that long, so you can look up at the corona in the sky, and that’s similar for the Cape region. It’s going to be just a little bit shorter in Cape but about the same,” Baer said.

According to Baer, the best viewing spot in the country is in southwest Texas, with 4 minutes and 30 seconds of totality.

Baer also explained how this type of event needs to be planned way in advance.

“So you have to start planning early for something like this because of the scale of it and for us here on campus, we look out, we look at the calendar pretty far in advance, do we want to have school that day, are we going to have students on campus, for instance, which we will in April, is happening towards the end of the school year,” said Baer.

For you astronomers, you have a chance to catch another spectacle in the sky next year.

“A total lunar eclipse coming up May of 2022, so we’re under a year away from that one and that’s what people often refer to as a blood moon,” stated Baer.

Southern Illinois University again is partnering with the Adler Planetarium out of Chicago for the 2024 total solar eclipse. Both partners will be putting on the festivities again, similar to what they did in 2017.

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