Eclipse: To fail to appear, to be abandoned. But also to be together with humanity through time.

Photo courtesy of NASA

Eclipse from NASA

By Gabrielle Lyon, Executive Director

Read Time 2 minutes
April 1, 2024

What's coming on April 8, 2024, with a path of totality stretching right through southern Illinois from Alexander County to Clark County? A total solar eclipse. The next one won't be for two decades.

The origin of the word in Greek means "to be abandoned," or "to fail to appear," but when I think about the upcoming eclipse all I can think about is how this celestial event, uncontrolled and uncontrollable by people, has been experienced by humans for millennia.

It feels like a great connector - irrespective of the etymology. Just a week ago I was in Marshall, Illinois, which has been gearing up for months to host a three-day series of free "Meet me in Marshall for the Eclipse" events.

We're lucky this year in Illinois to have lots of sites to choose from to share an experience with the totality. The total solar eclipse will arrive over the state starting at 1:58 p.m. CDT with the final exit of the Moon’s shadow from Illinois at 2:06 p.m. CDT. Great American Eclipse has detailed information about the path of totality in Illinois. In Chicago, just 94% of the Sun will be covered by the Moon (at 2:07 p.m. CDT) but if you want to get closer to 100% you can check out this list of Illinois cities in the path.

Total solar elipse

I also love this map from Celestron which not only shows the path of totality, it gives you a sense of what you might see if you're not on the path.

The Exploratorium has a wonderful guide about what the eclipse actually IS and how to look at it safely. (The punch line, in case you haven't heard it before: "Don't look at it directly.")

You can check eclipse day weather here, and, if you can't make it to the path of totality or the weather is getting in the way, you can watch a livestream from SIU Carbondale.

Here's to all the ways the 2024 eclipse can help us appear to one another in Illinois and across time.

Solar eclipse path

Celebrate the Eclipse with our grantee partners

Eclipse Over Little Egypt: Sones de México Ensemble in Alto Pass

The two-time GRAMMY™ nominated Mexican folk music organization and performing group Sones de México Ensemble will perform a free concert as part of Cosmic Crossroads Eclipse, a full day of programming to celebrate the eclipse in Alto, Illinois at the Alto Vineyards.


Learn more

Sones de Mexico

Visit Marshall, Illinois for the ultimate pre-party ahead of the solar eclipse, April 5-8! 

  • Glow Run
  • Glow Kayaking
  • Hot Air Balloon Glow
  • Firework & Drone Show
  • Kids Day
  • Telescoping Viewing
  • Food Trucks
  • Live entertainment with Howl At The Moon and rising country star Caitlin Mae!

Watch the promo                                Learn more

Marshall Illinois Eclipse programming