Solar Eclipse

On Aug. 21, Illinois — and southern Illinois in particular — will be home to some of the best solar eclipse viewing in the country.

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon travels between the Earth and the sun, casting a shadow on the Earth’s surface. An approximately 75-mile area in southern Illinois centered on Carbondale will be treated to a full eclipse — when the moon completely blocks the sun for nearly three minutes. The rest of the state will see a partial eclipse of 85 percent to 90 percent coverage.

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How IDOT is preparing

The Illinois Department of Transportation has been coordinating with other agencies on the state and local levels throughout the spring and summer to make sure the eclipse weekend and viewing events run as smoothly as possible.

IDOT staff will be ready and available if they are needed to assist with traffic detours, communicating travel information and more.

Expect congestion

It is estimated that 100,000 to 200,000 people will visit the prime viewing areas in southern Illinois during the event, with the Interstate 57 (Interstate 24 to Interstate 64), Illinois 13 and U.S. 51 corridors anticipated to be the most heavily traveled. To minimize impacts to the traveling public, IDOT will eliminate a majority of its construction lane closures in these areas from 5 a.m. Friday, Aug. 18, to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug.22. If construction work zones or lane closures are encountered, motorists are advised to proceed with extreme caution.

Travel Tips

Solar Eclipse Driving Tips

Viewing Tips

As always, you should never look directly at the sun, especially during an eclipse. To safely view the eclipse, consider:

  • Eclipse glasses: These special shades are similar to 3D glasses but are certified eclipse-safe for direct viewing. Regular sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe to view the eclipse.
  • Solar filters: If you want to use a telescope, binoculars or camera, do not use them unprotected even if you have safe eclipse glasses. Consult the manufacturer for a proper filter to attach to your device.
  • Pinhole viewer: This is a simple, inexpensive way to indirectly view the eclipse. Just take two sheets of white paper (card stock is better) and poke a hole in the middle of one sheet. With your back to the sun, hold the sheet with the hole over the other sheet and adjust them until you see a dot of light. That’s the sun! As the moon travels across the sun, a crescent will appear.

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