BEACON TRANSCRIPT – The rare upcoming full solar eclipse expected to be visible in downstate Illinois in August will gather around 50,000 astronomy fans, including thousands of suburban enthusiasts. On Aug. 21, the watchers will be able to see a 100% full solar eclipse. The moon will cover the midday sun completely for a few minutes, making it possible for us to see stars in the sky. The eclipse will take place at 1:20 p.m.
If the weather is friendly, the eclipse, called “The Great American Eclipse” will be visible on a 70-mile line from Oregon to North Carolina. The line crosses Southern Illinois and includes the cities of Marion, Chester and Carbondale, where Southern Illinois University can be found and where many events will take place.
Naperville Astronomical Association was founded by a group of amateur astronomy enthusiasts from southwest Chicagoland, Illinois. They have already started preparing for the big event and organized a trip to witness the eclipse. They booked 100 hotel rooms in three different locations and even rented a park district ballfield to organize their own private viewing party. 150 members of the association are going to be on this exciting trip.
The association spokesman, Eric Claeys, declared that this was a once in a lifetime event. The last full eclipse visible in the United States took place in 1979 and others happen in places which are too far away to travel too. Therefore, a full eclipse visible so close to Chicago is definitely not a chance to miss. The eclipse will be visible in the Chicago area, too, but to an extent of 90 percent and many viewing parties and activities will take place there.
The members of the Naperville Astronomical Association are not the only ones who are travelling especially at the purpose of the eclipse. Many hotels and campgrounds in Southern Illinois are already fully booked, hosting guests coming even from as far away as Japan.
Not only the enthusiasts have a lot to win out of this, but the Illinois authorities too. The local economy will gain a huge boost. Travel agencies have a lot of offers for everybody. The attractions include a large music festival, an arts and craft fair, a science and technology expo, and many other activities and offers.
If you are interested, do not hesitate to browse all the offers that the tourism agencies have prepared. But do not forget what it is the most important. When witnessing the eclipse, do not look directly into the sun. You can make a pinhole viewer using an index card or better buy a pair of special solar viewing glasses. Now let us just hope that the weather will be perfect and everybody will enjoy this amazing experience.
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