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Solar Eclipse 2024

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon travels between the Earth and the Sun, casting a shadow on the Earth's surface.

The 2024 solar eclipse will be visible over approximately 128 miles of Illinois April 8.

Totality enters Illinois as it crosses the Missouri state line southwest in Carbondale at 1:58 p.m.

The eclipse will follow a diagonal line crossing over Fairfield and exit Illinois at Mount Carmel at 2:06 p.m.

Take a moment and watch Secretary Omer Osman share some solar eclipse safety tips. 

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The Illinois Department of Transportation coordinates with other agencies on the state and local levels to ensure the eclipse weekend and viewing events run as smooth as possible. 

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

Expect Congestion

Crowds of 100,000 to 200,000 are expected to come to the prime viewing area in southern Illinois.

Interstate 57 is the direct interstate access to the path of totality. U.S. 45 runs through the middle of the path of totality. Illinois 1 and Interstates 64 and 70 will provide access to the area. 

All roads in and out of the area are expected to have heavy congestion in the couple hours after the eclipse. 

Any lane closures on state projects will be lifted throughout the weekend and the day after the eclipse.

Travel Tips

  • If driving during the eclipse, ensure car headlights are on.
  • Don't ever take photos, videos, or wear "eclipse glasses" while driving. 
  • Don't park along the shoulder of the road, highway, or interstate to watch the eclipse.
  • Always exit the roadway and park in a safe area away from traffic before viewing the eclipse.
  • Check travel conditions at Getting Around Illinois
  • Many communities in the path of totality are having festivals and concerts over the weekend leading up to April 8. See more information at the 2024 Solar Eclipse Guide for Illinois

Viewing Tips

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

  • Eclipse glasses: These special shades are similiar to 3D glasses abut 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 best) 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. 

Additional Resources