Southern Illinois is in the path of totality as the 2017 Great American Eclipse eclipse rolls across the country on Monday.
2:20 p.m. Traffic tie-ups on the way back
There now are reports of traffic congestion on the northbound routes out of Southern Illinois.
St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency reported that Illinois 159 from Red Bud through Belleville was gridlocked heading north.
1:55 p.m.: Back in 2024?
Steve Fruth and his son, David Fruth, of Oak Park, watched the eclipse in Carbondale. They said seeing the sun’s corona gave them chills.
“I don’t think there are words to describe something so memorable,” David Fruth said.
Steve Fruth said he was amazed to see the corona, despite cloudiness.
“I came to see the corona and I saw the corona,” Steve Fruth said. “I’m looking forward to coming back in 2024.”
1:50 p.m.: Clouds hurt Carbondale view
A single cloud nearly obscured totality of the eclipse in Carbondale.
Clouds threatened the view of the eclipse from Saluki Stadium, and, barely 20 minutes before the moon moved in front of the sun, a large cloud settled over 14,000 people.
The sky darkened as if it were night, but the crowd was hopeful as a small hole in the overcast sky came into view.
The corona came into view for a few fleeting moments.
People screamed, gasped and stomped their feet in a wave of overflowing emotion.
The cloud again obscure the eclipse, which would not be visible again until just after totality finished.
1:30 p.m.: Bark at the Moon
Rocker Ozzy Osbourne hit the stage at a winery outside Carterville.
The air cooled. Ozzy’s cackle went out over the crowd. It started to get dark. They started to chant, “Ozzy! Ozzy! Ozzy!” The lights went up. Electric guitars and drums filled the air: “Bark at the Moon.”
1:19 p.m.: It’s happening!
In Belleville, people stood outside their workplaces to catch a glimpse of the eclipse, and darkness fell across the city.
Folks at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville also gathered to watch the event.
12:55 p.m.: Injury reported at Garden of Gods
The Southern Illinois Fire Incidents Facebook page reported that firefighters from Equality were called to the Garden of the Gods area after someone fell 15 to 20 feet.
Garden of the Gods is an area of large rock formations and cliffs in the Shawnee National Forest, in Southern Illinois.
12:35 p.m.: Learning experience for students
The students at St. James School in Millstadt are in the parking lot participating in hands-on activities to help them view and learn about Monday’s solar eclipse.
One activity has them building eclipse viewers out of cereal boxes.
Other students are modeling the moon as it slowly covers the sun with Oreo cookies, which they get to eat. At the same time, there are students playing a game called “eclipse ball,” which is kickball with a ball that has been painted to look like the eclipse.
As they play and learn, they’re also looking up at the sun periodically with their eclipse glasses to see the moon’s progress.
When it reaches totality in Millstadt, the students theorize that the cicadas in the trees will be quiet.
12:20 p.m.: Woman treated at concert
A woman apparently was overcome by heat, waiting for Ozzy Osbourne to take the stage at a concert at a winery in Carterville.
Paramedics took her way on a stretcher. She was conscious, but sweating profusely. Temperatures at midday were in the mid-80s.
12:05 p.m.: Sun partially obscured
Crowds cheered as the eclipse began to appear about noon.
Eclipse viewers began flooding into Saluki Stadium in Carbondale from other events downtown and on campus.
Noon: Ready for Ozzy
Seats at the main stage started to fill at Moonstock, where Ozzy Osbourne will perform.
Garrett Kanaske, 22, of Collinsville, has camped at the venue since Friday. He was looking forward to the eclipse and the performance.
“I always wanted to see Ozzy,” he said.
Colleen Cox and Pedro Beltran, both of Belleville, waited to see the headliner.
Beltran and Cox drove to the winery outside Carterville to hear Osbourne and experience the eclipse.
“Drink water. Try to stay cool,” Cox said.
They wanted to just have a good time and not worry about traffic tie-ups on the way home.
Octavio Jacquez III brought his 14-year-old son, Octavio IV.
“It’s Ozzy. It’s a major event. This was something we could do together. He’s my son. I love him. This is something he won’t forget,” the elder Jacquez said.
11: 50 a.m.: Illinois 159, Illinois 15 clogged
Illinois 159 seems to be a trouble spot for eclipse viewers, south of Smithton.
Also, Illinois 15 in Freeburg was reported to be at a stand-still.
11:45 a.m.: Governor taking in eclipse
So where will Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and First Lady Diana Rauner watch the eclipse? They will be part of the crowd at Saluki Stadium on the Southern Illinois University Carbondale campus starting at 12:45 p.m., according to an advisory from the governor’s office.
11:35 a.m.: Balloon prep
The Balloonatics, a weather balloon club made up of students from four metro-east middle schools, began filling up their balloon.
One educator lay on the ground holding a hose to inflate the ballon from below as another teacher regulated the helium next to her. Standing around them were more than a dozen students holding a rainbow parachute to keep the balloon firmly on earth.
The Balloonatics launched their balloon at 11:52 a.m., following the launch of Louisiana State University.
It was slightly more stressful launching than previous times, said Margaret Ziegler, who goes to Harmony Emge.
“Everybody’s saying it has to be perfect (and) don’t touch the balloon,” she said.
But for as nerve-wracking as the launch was, Margaret was excited to retrieve it.
“I can’t wait to chase it down,” she said.
It might land in a lake, another student, Bryan Grafe said.
Specifically, said teacher Samantha Hedrick, it could be in a “somewhat wooded area (but) hopefully (a) grassy field.”
After the launch, the club’s chaperones packed up the ballooning equipment, and then they went back to their bus for lunch.
11:30 a.m.: It’s starting
The eclipse began passing over Oregon as of 11 a.m. Central Time, according to Planetary Radio’s Mat Kaplan.
Kaplan was broadcasting live from Saluki Stadium, where 14,000 eclipse visitors were expected to gather.
The eclipse was expected to begin transitioning toward totality around 11:52 a.m. in Carbondale.
A sparse but growing crowd at Saluki Stadium cheered as the emcee announced that the eclipse made “first contact” with the earth.
Anticipation was growing as slightly more than two hours remained until the eclipse would obscure Carbondale.
Scientists and others gave last-minute demonstrations and explanations from the stage.
11:25 a.m.: ‘I’m hoping to hallucinate’
JP Sears, the headband-wearing guru who offers tongue-in-cheek spiritual advice for the modern-day hippie, has published a new video describing what will happen during the solar eclipse.
Take a look:
11 a.m.: Still time to head south?
If you get into the car now to leave Belleville, you still might have time to get to Carbondale to see the eclipse.
Traffic conditions at 11 a.m. were showing a few stretches of slow traffic, apparently due to ongoing construction, on the three main routes to Carbondale. The eclipse was expected to reach totality at 1:21 p.m. in Carbondale. Similar traffic conditions were showing on the three main routes to Chester, where totality was expected at 1:18 p.m.
Motorists might have heeded advice and left early to get to their eclipse destinations. Traffic along several interstates was reported as heavier than usual on Sunday afternoon.
The Illinois Department of Transportation reminded drivers to leave the road should they want to watch the eclipse, being sure to park a “safe area away from traffic.” If continuing to drive, turn on headlights as you would at night.
10:50 a.m.: Cosmic road trip
Ginger Droblas and her daughter, Amana, left Chicago at 1 a.m. and arrived shortly after 7:30 a.m. in a group of 12 in three cars.
“It started off like a family idea,” Ginger Droblas said, “and then we brought up the idea to the members in our church — ‘hey, who wants to join us?’ — and these guys were up for it.”
Amana Droblas, a sophomore at Triton College, wants to go into a science-related field.
“I’ve always just been fascinated by astronomy, and those two famous astronomers, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye,” she said.
This isn’t the first cosmos-related road trip the family has taken. An earlier trip to Northern California revealed an inspiring view of the stars.
“It was just the most beautiful thing we ever saw,” Ginger Droblas said. “The light pollution in Chicago is so high that we don’t really see the stars like other people do. That was a big thing for us.”
10:35 a.m.: Check your eclipse glasses!
Make sure your eclipse glasses are safe. In short, make sure they’re not made in China and have an ISO safety number.
Here’s a warning from a guy named Bruce Springstein about what could happen if you don’t wear the proper safety glasses:
10:30 a.m.: Keeping eclipse cool
Eclipse viewers were taking advantage of air conditioning, free water and public restrooms at SIU’s Student center.
Vanessa Jones of Chicago drove down to Carbondale with her sister, Tonya Patton, who lives in Detroit.
They took an indirect route and arrived at 6 a.m. to avoid traffic. They didn’t encounter any.
“We weren’t taking any chances,” Jones said.
The sisters are originally from the Southern Illinois area and said they were “excited” their home turf was in the spotlight.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Patton said. “But we’ll be back for the next one.”
Though they both said they’re not quite sure what to expect from the eclipse itself.
“I’m kind of in the dark,” Jones said with a laugh.
10:15 a.m.: Elipse length at your location
The crew at the Southern Illinoisan put together this cool map showing how long the eclipse will last at various locations in Southern Illinois:
10 a.m.: Viewers entering Saluki Stadium
Events at Saluki Stadium got underway with the Southern Illinois University marching band making its appearance.
Eclipse viewers started to file into the stadium, which was expected to be full with 14,000 seats sold out.
9:50 a.m.: Ozzy fans lined up
About 1,000 people were lined up to watch Ozzy Osbourne play during the solar eclipse.
“We decided this was how we wanted to spend the eclipse,” said Christina Stewart of Highland, who came with her sister and cousin.
Stewart said she heard of the controversy about having Ozzy play during the Moonstock festival at a winery outside Carterville. Some eclipse purists say Osbourne performing during the eclipse would ruin a near-religious experience.
“I say rock out on a song,” Stewart said.
Richard Cummings of Alton camped at Fern Cliffe State Park on Sunday night then came to Moonstock to hear Osborne play. The trip was planned for weeks, Cummings said.
“We are celebrating life, music, the sun and the stars. We are all doing this together,” he said.
9:50 a.m.: Need some eclipse tunes?
Need some tunes to get you ready for the eclipse? NPR compiled this list:
9:35 a.m.: Traffic tie-ups starting
Motorists reported that traffic was becoming congested in areas of the eclipse totality. Even areas of Interstate 64, at the southbound exits for Illinois 4 and Illinois 127, were congested, according to police and motorists.
9:10 a.m.: Trainload arrives in Carbondale
A train full of people arrived in Carbondale — an area where the eclipse will be in totality —after traveling from Chicago early Monday morning
Carbondale City Manager Gary Williams said Amtrak offered people an additional train route from Chicago to Carbondale specifically for the eclipse.
It left at 3:30 a.m. Monday and arrived in Carbondale shortly after 8 a.m.
“It’s been great, it’s been real busy,” Williams said. “We haven’t had as much vehicular traffic as we thought, which we are kind of glad about in many ways. But our downtown has been filled with people.”
He said the community has held several events including live music.
“Overall, I think we are all really happy,” Williams said. “It’s been a big success so far.”
He added that the city has seen the biggest influx of people Monday morning.