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Question of the day

Wednesday, Apr 3, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* My super-talented brother Devin (Isabel’s dad) is being featured in an eclipse art show this month

We have curated an Eclipse Art Show this month at Booby's Carbondale with paintings by The Art of Timothy Thomas and…

Posted by Chris McKinley on Monday, April 1, 2024

I've been brushing up on my eclipse photo knowledge and getting my gear ready for the upcoming event. I shot a drone,…

Posted by Devin Miller on Sunday, March 10, 2024

Devin and I went to the Ozzy Osbourne show during the last full eclipse.

* The Atlantic

Eclipses are not particularly rare in the universe. One occurs every time a planet, its orbiting moon, and its sun line up. Nearly every planet has a sun, and astronomers have reason to believe that many of them have moons, so shadows are bound to be cast on one world or another as the years pass.

But solar eclipses like the one that millions of Americans will watch on April 8—in which a blood-red ring and shimmering corona emerge to surround a blackened sun—are a cosmic fluke. They’re an unlikely confluence of time, space, and planetary dynamics, the result of chance events that happened billions of years ago. And, as far as we know, Earth’s magnificent eclipses are unique in their frequency, an extraordinary case of habitual stellar spectacle. On April 8, anyone who watches in wonder as the moon silently glides over the sun will be witnessing the planetary version of a lightning strike. […]

Relative to the diameter of the Earth, our moon is unusually big for a satellite, at least in our solar system. If you were an alien astronomer visiting our corner of space, you’d probably think the Earth-moon system was two planets orbiting each other. And yet, rotund as it may be, our moon is still 400 times smaller in diameter than the sun—but it also just so happens to be roughly 400 times closer to Earth. And even that coincidence of space and size is, in truth, an accident of time. Today, the moon orbits about 240,000 miles from Earth. But 4.5 billion years ago, when it was first born from an apocalyptic collision between Earth and a Mars-size planet, it was only 14,000 or so miles away, and therefore would have looked about 17 times bigger in the sky than it does today. Since then, the moon has been slowly drifting away from Earth; currently, it’s moving at about 1.5 inches a year. As the size of its orbit increased, its apparent size in Earth’s sky decreased. That means the eclipses we see today were likely not possible until about 1 billion years ago, and will no longer be possible 1 billion years from now. Humanity has the luck of living in the brief cosmic window of stunning eclipses.

* The Question: Any special eclipse plans Monday?


  1. - old man poodle owner - Wednesday, Apr 3, 24 @ 1:36 pm:

    The State of Indiana has been planning for this event since the last one. They do a good job with planning.

    Hopefully JB has planned better for this one as it took us 10 hours to go 172 miles last time.

    But JB will be with Amtrak Joe that day so I doubt it.

  2. - @misterjayem - Wednesday, Apr 3, 24 @ 1:37 pm:

    “Any special eclipse plans Monday?”

    Probably nothing more than enjoying some Pink Floyd and Soundgarden during the day.

    (And maybe some Bonnie Tyler)

    – MrJM

  3. - TheInvisibleMan - Wednesday, Apr 3, 24 @ 1:38 pm:

    Probably driving south from Chicago along the IL/In border until I get past Terre Haute, then diagonally into IN.

    Or maybe driving from Chicago east to Cleveland. It all depends on the weather/cloud forecast the day before.


    —And, as far as we know, Earth’s magnificent eclipses are unique in their frequency—

    There are eclipses on Jupiter far more often. With a cheap telescope you can even watch the shadows from the moons crossing the planet. Ours would even be boring in comparison, as sometimes there are TWO moons in line, causing an eclipse, and then another moon in front of the first moon.

    Our world is certainly great, but even the rest of the solar system could provide experiences incomparable to anything even possible here.

  4. - Retired SURS Employee - Wednesday, Apr 3, 24 @ 1:38 pm:

    Our entire family traveled from the western Chicago suburbs to Ste. Genevieve Missouri for the 2017 eclipse. It was majestic! This time it’s too long of a drive for me so my wife and I will travel to the Indianapolis area to hopefully see our second eclipse in 7 years.

  5. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Apr 3, 24 @ 1:48 pm:

    ===Hopefully JB has planned better for this one as it took us 10 hours to go 172 miles last time===

    Are you saying you want more roads for a super-rare event?

  6. - H-W - Wednesday, Apr 3, 24 @ 1:56 pm:

    I had thought about cancelling classes so that my wife and I could pursue the eclipse next week. But alas, a teacher’s gotta teach.

    I still remember being on a Boy Scout camp out in Chesapeake, Virginia during a total eclipse - March 7th, 1970. It was pretty darned cool, including the cooling of the air, and the birds adjusting to the darkness.

  7. - G'Kar - Wednesday, Apr 3, 24 @ 2:07 pm:

    Mrs. G’Kar and have glasses and we will look at it from Central Illinois.

  8. - JS Mill - Wednesday, Apr 3, 24 @ 2:10 pm:

    We purchased glasses for all of our students and staff in the district. We will be taking the kids outside to enjoy this event. For our youngest students, this will be the first one in their lifetime. Which is pretty cool.

  9. - lake county democrat - Wednesday, Apr 3, 24 @ 2:12 pm:

    No plans other than typical work day, but I’ll take the op to note your brother is quite talented.

  10. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, Apr 3, 24 @ 2:13 pm:

    – it took us 10 hours to go 172 miles last time –


  11. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Apr 3, 24 @ 2:14 pm:

    Sen. Rose asked that this link be posted

  12. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Apr 3, 24 @ 2:19 pm:

    ===your brother is quite talented===

    He is. And he’s talented in multiple ways. Graduated from film school, great photog, accomplished musician (multiple instruments), former newspaper publisher/editor, teacher, outdoorsman, etc. He also won a city council race last year.

    Plus, he raised Isabel right (and the rest of his large brood of kids).

  13. - Annonin' - Wednesday, Apr 3, 24 @ 2:30 pm:

    Mr/Ms old poodle too stupid to grasp the concept over giant crowds trying to leave at once=traffic jams.
    We are planning live remotes from FarmHouse Fraternity compound

  14. - TheInvisibleMan - Wednesday, Apr 3, 24 @ 2:31 pm:

    – asked that this link be posted–

    Being UP in that airplane would be the best option. Odds are even a cessna would be able to fly above the stratiform clouds which look like they will be quite common over the area that day.

    “It’s always sunny, if you’re high enough. (in altitude)”

  15. - FormerParatrooper - Wednesday, Apr 3, 24 @ 2:36 pm:

    Last eclipse I was in Philadelphia and it barely dimmed the sun. Hopefully I will be closer Monday. Listen to Ozzy during the eclipse for sure.

  16. - Keyrock - Wednesday, Apr 3, 24 @ 2:38 pm:

    Driving to Terre Haute Sunday and spending the night there. Current forecast for Monday is “mostly sunny.”

  17. - Amalia - Wednesday, Apr 3, 24 @ 2:39 pm:

    nice from Devin. watching the weather. going from there.

  18. - New Day - Wednesday, Apr 3, 24 @ 2:52 pm:

    Pray for sun. Then head downstate but avoid the chaos that will be Carbondale.

  19. - Norseman - Wednesday, Apr 3, 24 @ 2:57 pm:

    JS Mill - Wednesday, Apr 3, 24 @ 2:10 pm - Awesome. Good job. The students will appreciate this special event.

    As for me, I’ll head over to Cahokia Mounds. They’re having a little thing.

  20. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Wednesday, Apr 3, 24 @ 3:13 pm:

    =Are you saying you want more roads for a super-rare event?=

    Well, eclipse or not, the State should have finished extending Interstate 39 as a full blown interstate all the way south from Bloomington to either the Salem or Centralia area about 30 years ago. That would have helped with traffic on days like Monday or on Aug. 21, 2017.

  21. - very old soil - Wednesday, Apr 3, 24 @ 4:08 pm:

    And how much would those 149 miles have cost 30 years ago? Per MapQuest, it’s only 20 miles further to swing over to I57.

  22. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Apr 3, 24 @ 4:22 pm:

    I reserved a room in Marion (IL) a year ago. Will drive down Sunday with the fam and back Tuesday (to avoid the traffic). Hoping for clear skies. We canceled whatever to go.

    Saw the 2017 totality in southern Illinois. Could not imagine missing this one. If you haven’t seen totality, you haven’t experienced an eclipse. There is no comparison. cite:

  23. - ??? - Wednesday, Apr 3, 24 @ 4:28 pm:

    Just heading over to the lakefront with my eclipse glasses that arrived today.

  24. - Give Us Barabbas - Wednesday, Apr 3, 24 @ 7:27 pm:

    I’m driving a little south but staying away from Carbondale and all the towns bigger than one traffic light, using the county roads and farm roads to avoid the traffic. There’s a line of teensy towns between Effingham and Terre Haute in the totality zone, should be able to find a quiet spot somewhere along that line.

    Illinois weather tends to disappoint for anything regarding astronomy in my experience, so we’ll decide at the last minute after consulting radar and cloud conditions

  25. - Vote Quimby - Wednesday, Apr 3, 24 @ 9:39 pm:

    I live in Devin’s ward and plan to celebrate with two friends coming down from Springpatch. Black Hole Sun is my odds on to play during totality.

  26. - Candy Dogood - Thursday, Apr 4, 24 @ 12:27 am:

    I really wasn’t expecting everyone and their mother to be making plans to go to Indiana, but I wish all of you state safe travels.

    ===The State of Indiana has been planning for this event since the last one. They do a good job with planning===

    So has Illinois. Multiple governments and organizations have been planning for this coming weekend for years. Planning meetings for this kind of thing aren’t usually news stories and the challenge for this kind of event is the many many thousands of people that will jump into a car with little or no plan, drive to a destination that they think is best, maybe move around a bit based off of whether, and then immediately try to leave once it is over. People also sometimes react poorly when they decide to go some place to do something without being prepared for the thousands of people that had that idea before them.

  27. - Suburban Mom - Thursday, Apr 4, 24 @ 11:33 am:

    Off to Indiana for a long weekend, took the kids out of school Monday.

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