A solar-eclipse-enthusiast website has published new estimates on how many visitors will flock to Southern Illinois for the few short moments when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth in August.
Michael Zeiler, GreatAmericanEclipse.com co-operator and an eclipse enthusiast, used traffic and population data to estimate that between 93,000 and 372,000 people could visit the region.
NASA estimates upward of 55,000 visitors will travel to the area on Aug. 21 for the total eclipse, the first in the United States in 99 years. NASA scientists will set up shop at Southern Illinois University Carbondale to livestream the eclipse worldwide.
Cinnamon Wheeles-Smith, executive director of the Carbondale Convention and Visitors Bureau, told The Southern Illinoisan the bureau is planning around NASA’s estimates.
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The prediction path for the full eclipse places Belleville north of the best viewing areas, according to path projections on NASA’s website. In Belleville and surrounding areas, the total eclipse will be visible for about 40 seconds.
The eclipse will begin around 11:45 a.m. in Jefferson City, Mo., and will pass by Carbondale at 11:52 a.m., according to NASA. In the metro-east, it’ll be over by 1:20 p.m.