Prepare for the Solar Eclipse

Join us at the Library on Monday, April 8 for a Solar Eclipse Viewing Party! Drop in between 10:30 am – 2:30 pm and get a pair of eclipse glasses or viewers (one per person while supplies last). Chicagoland is on the edge of the path of totality, and weather permitting, we’ll see a partial solar eclipse with the Moon covering a large portion of the Sun. Even if it’s cloudy, enjoy a live feed of the total eclipse playing in the Foyer, plus activities and refreshments. 


The eclipse on April 8, 2024 is a total solar eclipse, which happens when the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth, completely blocking the face of the Sun. Those within the path of totality (that is, locations where the Moon’s shadow completely covers the Sun) will experience this total solar eclipse. The sky will become dark, and people will be able to see the Sun’s corona, or outer atmosphere, which is usually obscured by the Sun’s light. The peak of the eclipse will last up to 4 minutes, 28 seconds in some locations, which is twice as long as the eclipse we saw in 2017. This will be the last total solar eclipse visible from the contiguous United States until 2044, and there won’t be another eclipse with a similar coast-to-coast path until 2045. 


Since Northern Illinois is outside the path of totality, we will experience a partial solar eclipse, where the Moon covers most, but not all, of the Sun. Eclipse glasses are required for the entire duration of the eclipse when viewing from outside the path of totality. It is not safe to remove your eclipse glasses when the Moon is not completely blocking the Sun. For more safety information, visit NASA’s Total Solar Eclipse Safety page


NASA also has more information on what to expect, an interactive visualization of the eclipse path, and photos from past eclipses. The Exploratorium (San Francisco, CA) will be broadcasting eclipse livestreams from the path of totality in Junction, Texas in both English and Spanish. 


For even more information about eclipses and other astronomical wonders, be sure to check out these books, documentaries, and other Library resources: