Eclipse '17: The latest

Eclipse '17: The latest

As Melissa Merli sets up camp in Carbondale, we'll provide updates throughout what appears to be a cloudy Monday (submit your pictures - from school, from your backyard, from a watch party - by clicking here)

Check out our story on Instagram and Snapchat, too (search 'news-gazette')


4:38 p.m.

Listen to Michael Kiser's report from Edison Middle School.


2:30 p.m.

Did today's eclipse make it feel any different outside? You betcha.

2:15 p.m.

N-G photo editor Robin Scholz was stationed at the parking lot outside the Champaign Public Library.

She used a 500 mm lens with a solar filter on a tripod to capture this image (check back later for her gallery).

2 p.m.

Former N-G staffer Dorothy Lillig was in Benton today along with husband Dan, son Jack and daughter Anna. Jack is a freshman at the UI who moves in Tuesday.

The family got a good look at the eclipse.

1:45 p.m.

Correspondent Natalie Fleming took in the eclipse at SIU's football stadium. Her take:

"Everyone was quiet at first because the clouds were covering it but you could tell that it got very dark. You could hear the cicadas and see a few stars. I could tell some people were not pleased because of the clouds, but when the clouds finally moved I heard a lot of screaming and people were running just to get a view of the Corona. It was magnificent, I did not expect to find it so amazing and those 2 minutes and 38 seconds went by so fast I wish I could see it again."

1:20 p.m.

Well, how was it (besides darker and cooler)? Let us know by emailing

1 p.m.

Area schools are going all out for students to catch a glimpse of today's eclipse. Email your playground photos to

12:45 p.m.

While the rest of us gaze at the vanishing sun through our protective glasses, two teams of scientists from the Illinois State Water Survey are busy collecting weather data before, during and after the eclipse.

The Illinois Climate Network, which monitors weather at 19 stations across the state, is taking measurements every 10 seconds, gathering data on air temperatures and solar radiation (both expected to drop during the eclipse) as well as wind, barometric pressure and relative humidity.
The researchers always take data every five minutes and will livestream it. And Jennie Renee Atkins, program manager for the survey’s Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring Program, is tweeting graphics and data throughout the day @WARM_ISWS.

Researchers across the country will be gathering the same data in 10-second intervals — in Missouri, Nebraska, Kentucky, etc. —  which will be combined to provide an unprecedented picture of what happened as the eclipse moved across the country, Atkins said. This is the first coast-to-coast U.S. eclipse sine 1918.

“That’s going to be terrific,” she said.

A second project led by David Kristovich, head of the Climate and Atmospheric Sciences Section at the Water Survey, will study rapid changes in heating and cooling at the Earth’s surface, which could be used to improve the mathematical models used to predict the weather.

Kristovich, normally based in Champaign, is at the Dixon Springs Agricultural Center in southern Illinois today, in the path of the total eclipse. Since 8 p.m. Sunday night his team has been taking measurements using LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensors to view the motions of microscopic dust particles. They also hope to launch a weather balloon carrying equipment to measure temperature, humidity and changing winds in real time.

“It’s going very well,” Kristovich said around noon. “We’re seeing some really strong updrafts and downdrafts, which you’d expect as it heats up. We’ll see how quickly they go down once the sun starts eclipsing.”

12:30 p.m.

As the magic hour in C-U approaches — 1:20 p.m. — attendance at watch parties is picking up. 

The parking lots at Champaign's and Urbana's libraries are crowded, as is the Quad on the UI campus.

At the Esquire in downtown Champaign, Manfred Mann's "Blinded By The Light" is playing on the juke box.


The eclipse is underway in Carbondale, where a massive crowd has gathered.

11:30 a.m.

Seats at the football stadium at SIU are filling up, the crowd battling hot and humid conditions.

"Stadium energy is great," Natalie Fleming reports. "People are using fans to keep cool as much as possible."

11:15 a.m.

Southern Illinois University freshman and Champaign Central grad Natalie Fleming is on the beat in Carbondale. 

She reports clear skies and a growing crowd this morning. "School buses and campers everywhere. The tents are ongoing."

An SIU dorm is sold out, including visitors who paid $800 to stay there.

The eclipse glasses once available at the student center are sold out.

11 a.m.

Forecasters say it looks like a big chunk of the nation on the path of the total eclipse will get clear viewing for the sky show.

National Weather Service meteorologist Patrick Burke says about 70 percent of the area on the 70-mile path stretching from Oregon to South Carolina is likely to have clear skies when the moon moves in front of the sun.

Burke says it looks good for the Pacific Northwest, the Northern Rockies, Tennessee, Kentucky, and into western South Carolina.

The toughest areas are coastal South Carolina, eastern Nebraska, north and central Missouri and Illinois. Burke says those areas will have thick clouds and have to dodge pop-up thunderstorms.

Astronomers say clouds and rainstorm make it difficult to see the classic image of the blotted out sun.

9:27 a.m.

Staerkel Planetarium's Dave Leake checked in with the WDWS morning show.

6 a.m.

If you opted not join the hordes who headed toward Carbondale to watch today's eclipse in favor of catching it from your backyard, the map at right from the National Weather Service isn't good news.

It shows that about the time the totality will pass near our area — the sun will be 93 percent obscured in Champaign-Urbana — cloud cover in our skies is expected to be at 80 percent. Not ideal.

This is only a prediction, of course, and coverage can vary widely in an area as large as ours, so it's probably still worth taking a look outside (with your pinhole camera or special glasses — protect those eyes).

But if you do find things too gray in your backyard, there's several other views available at the click of a mouse or tap on your phone — and they begin well before the skies are set to darken here.

The best place for live eclipse coverage online is NASA's live-stream site.

There, you'll find two main options: NASA TV's "Eclipse Across America," live coverage beginning at 11 a.m. CDT that features footage from ground telescopes and airplanes in 12 locations, as well as 57 high-altitude balloons; and NASA EDGE, a live feed beginning at 10:45 a.m. CDT from just outside Saluki Stadium in Carbondale that will feature scientist interviews, a social-media chat, educational activities and telescope feeds. The site has links to streams on a variety of websites and social-media outlets.

Live coverage can also be found on several major TV networks, including ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News, NBC, Science Channel and the Weather Channel.

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