Monday's eclipse: Where to watch it

Monday's eclipse: Where to watch it

If your kid got 93 percent right on a test, you'd be pretty proud, right? Well, Central Illinois' 93 percent eclipse is nothing to sniff about. The eclipse will peak here around 1:20 p.m. Monday. The News-Gazette's Paul Wood found these things you can do Monday — almost all of the events are free, as is standing in your own backyard.

Shadow boxing

The Rantoul Public Library will host a Solar Eclipse Program for all ages presented by physicist Doug Rokke. It's from noon to 2 p.m. at the library, 106 W. Flessner. Rokke said he will use hands-on methods to explain how to use telescopes, glasses or a pinhole camera safely. Bring a box to make a shadow box, or view an indoor projection of the images. This is a bring your own lunch event, with drinks and dessert provided by the library.

Inside or out

The Vermilion County Conservation District in Kennekuk County Park will host a solar eclipse party from 10:45 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Environmental Education Center, 22296 Henning Road. Visitors may view the eclipse with safety glasses, or indoors at the education center through NASA's live stream.

Eclipse enthusiasts at Kennekuk are encouraged to bring a picnic lunch, lawn chairs, blankets and tents to the event. The conservation district will provide solar-eclipse-safe glasses, refreshments and a treat. The center's classroom will also have eclipse-themed activities and information.

District Environmental Educator Lara Darling said the park has 200 NASA-certified glasses, though NASA has not certified the cookies.

Come to the Quad; they'll provide the glasses

The Illini Union is hosting an event on the Anniversary Plaza/Quad from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Some viewing glasses are available as well.

For the sun, the Harvest Moon

Gibson City's twin drive-in theater on Illinois 47 is doing an impromptu gathering.

"At the harvest moon, we'll have gates open and invite people in. I'm hoping to get some decent photos," said co-owner Ben Harroun.

Food trucks and strange music

Eclipse Magic at the Champaign Public Library runs from noon to 2 p.m. The solar-eclipse viewing party includes food trucks, live music and even free Kona Ice. There are still some eclipse glasses left. The Etherphonic Theremin Orchestra will be playing during the eclipse.

Total-ish Eclipse

Champaign's Orpheum Children's Science Museum, 346 N. Neil St., offers the Total-ish Eclipse from noon to 2 p.m. You can learn about solar eclipses, make bracelets that change colors in ultraviolet light, and witness the nearly total eclipse. General admission rates ($5, under 2 free, seniors 4) apply.

Watch it with a bunch of smart people

The University of Illinois Research Park will provide snacks and protective viewing glasses from 1 to 2 p.m. The park's address is 2100 S. Oak St., C — look for the crowds.

Hear a story, then get your glasses

At The Urbana Free Library, from 11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. there's an inside celebration of the solar eclipse with stories, songs and a craft activity in the Lewis Auditorium. Then it moves outside from 11:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. They'll cart out seats and auditorium chairs outside to get a glimpse (with viewing glasses as available) of the solar eclipse.

Show some initiative

Call your friends and get them off their butts and outside, say a nearby park. Champaign's West Side Park has trees whose leaves will act as pinhole cameras, showing eclipse patterns in shadows, or Urbana's Meadowbrook Park is unobstructed where it's surrounded by prairie plants if your friends prefer that.

Maybe grill lunch for them as an incentive. You don't need an expert around to enjoy the show.

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