Countdown to 2024 Total Solar Eclipse underway

Leaders at Southern Illinois University are making plans for next year’s total solar eclipse.
Published: Apr. 5, 2023 at 3:47 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 5, 2023 at 5:33 PM CDT
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CARBONDALE, Ill. (KFVS) - Leaders at Southern Illinois University are making plans for next year’s total solar eclipse.

While it is still a year away, campus leaders are planning for a few minutes of darkness.

The planning for an event like this takes years. Bob Baer, the co-chair of the Southern Illinois Eclipse 2017 - 2024 steering committee, is helping plan the celebration. He said it will take place over four days.

“So we’ve got Saluki Con, which is a local comic con thing for a few days. We have a research workshop where we have researchers presentations from researchers all over the world coming here to do research. And we’ve got kind of the main event, it’s Eclipse Day at Saluki stadium,” said Baer. “Last time we held that, we sold out the stadium, 15,000 people. We had an additional 15,000 people outside the stadium as well.”

Baer said this is just some of the activities. Helping him plan is Michael Kentrianakis, an eclipse chaser. Kentrianakis said that an event like this is a big deal.

“Help with the planning and see for the next solar eclipse that is returning to Carbondale. Carbondale having been the crossroads of a total solar eclipse which is very rare,” said Kentrianakis.

Kentrianakis has been chasing eclipses for 45 years. He saw his first one at the age of 14. He said he’s excited for the Heartland to experience another total solar eclipse.

“You want to make sure everyone is safe, you want to make sure they’re also learning science, you’re getting outreach. And also enjoying the event and what it is that you’re seeing and it will show that itself,” said Kentrianakis.

There will be 4 minutes and 9 seconds of total darkness. The Solar Eclipse will begin in Mexico, stretching across the country into the Heartland and all the way up to New York. Those wanting to experience the Main event of the total solar eclipse in Saluki Stadium will have to be on the lookout for tickets.

“Saluki stadium will be ticketed, and we’re selling parking on campus, close for that as well. Those tickets should go on sale pretty soon, but the rest of the stuff on campus for the most part is free,” said Baer.

Kentrianakis is also speaking on SIU campus Friday, April 7. More on his presentation can be found here. For more information about the 2024 eclipse, you can find that information here.