On October 14, 2023, there will be an annular solar eclipse visible in a path across the United States. An annular solar eclipse occurs when the Moon mostly blocks out the light of the Sun, but not completely. A bright ring of fire is visible around the Moon during an annular eclipse, so eye protection is needed to view the entire event. If you want to see this phenomenon, you need to travel to the path.
On April 8, 2024, there will be a total solar eclipse visible along a narrow path across the contiguous United States. For about 3 minutes, the Moon will entirely block the light of the Sun. Dusk will fall in the middle of the afternoon. Stars and planets will be visible. The next total solar eclipse that crosses the United States will not be until 2045. Make eclipse-watching plans now! Learn more in this video.
If you want to see these events, you need to travel to the narrow path that crosses the United States. For both the annular eclipse of 2023 and the total solar eclipse of 2024, the Sun will be partially eclipsed in Central Illinois. In 2023, the Sun will be about 60% eclipsed locally, and in 2024, the Sun will be about 94% eclipsed. In order to get the most wonderful, surreal, and sublime experience, you need to travel to the eclipse path! The path of the 2023 eclipse is in the west, with the closest point to Peoria being in Texas. The 2024 eclipse path crosses through southern Illinois, with the closest point being in Indiana, a 3-to-4-hour drive from Peoria. It is a good idea to make plans as soon as possible, because accommodations fill up and get more expensive the closer we get to the eclipse dates.
How to safely observe the Sun:
In order to watch the annular eclipse of 2023 and the total eclipse of 2024, you will need to wear proper eye protection. Eclipse glasses are a popular choice, and are very inexpensive. They are available for purchase in the Peoria Riverfront Museum store. For those in the path of totality in 2024, for the 2.5 minutes that the Sun is totally covered by the Moon, you can safely observe the solar atmosphere without eye protection.
What you will see:
If you do not have the option to travel to totality, you can see a partial eclipse through a solar filter. In the Peoria area, it will look something like this when it is maximally eclipsed in 2024.
It is worth watching a partial eclipse if you cannot travel to totality - it will still be an unusual and noteworthy sight. However, if you do have a chance to go to totality, you should. A partial eclipse is exciting, but a total solar eclipse is a rare phenomenon, one of the most awe-inspiring in nature. If you travel to totality, you will see something like the image below. As the Moon passes in front of the Sun, it will be as if dusk has fallen in midday. Stars will appear and it will be quite dark for about 3 minutes.