2024 Total Eclipse
Total Eclipse Viewing in Illinois

1. 2024 Eclipse at Totality: early this week, John and I traveled to St. Louis (where I grew up) to view the April 8th total solar eclipse with my parents and his dad, who flew in from out of town. We weren’t able to go there for the 2017 eclipse and did not want to miss this one. So this Friday Five is all about the total eclipse!

On Monday morning, we packed up a picnic lunch and drove to Mount Vernon, Illinois, located in the path of totality. There was a lot of traffic on the road, but getting to see the total eclipse was absolutely worth the effort. I bought this inexpensive solar filter from B&H, but it did not work out well for me. I know basically nothing about photography and followed some online advice on how to photograph an eclipse, but most of my eclipse photos aren’t worth sharing. However, here’s one of the photos I took during totality that I just think is pretty:

2024 eclipse at 100%

2. Eclipse Viewing: my parents got eclipse glasses for all of us, which are important for protecting your precious peepers. We were extremely fortunate that the weather was clear and bright during the eclipse, with very little cloud cover. The conditions were probably as close to perfect as you can get for an eclipse. It was so incredible to watch the moon slowly overtake the sun over a period of an hour or so and then to see it recede after totality.

2024 eclipse glasses for safe viewing

3. Afternoon Sunset: totality hit Mount Vernon at 2:00pm CDT and the sky quickly morphed into a 360Ā° sunset. I took the below photo close to 2:02pm. Viewing totality was a truly amazing experience. I’m sure you’ve seen great photos of totality online, but of course nothing can really beat seeing it with your own eyes. That bright white light emanating from a perfect black circle…truly incredible. We could even see a tiny bit of the red light coming off the sun (called Bailey’s Beads) behind the moon.

The overall vibe felt otherworldly and the sky all around us was stunning. The temperatureā€”around 75Ā°F before the eclipse beganā€”dropped enough to where I felt the need to put my hoodie on over my sleeveless top. I’m curious how many degrees it dropped! And of course it warmed back up after totality ended.

Sunset at 2pm during totality

4. Another Afternoon Eclipse Sunset View: I took this photo close to 2:04pm, as totality was nearing its end. The lights in the parking lot had automatically come on because it grew so dark outside.

Sunset at 2pm during totality

5. The End of Totality: I snapped the below photo at 2:04pm, right after totality ended and the moon began its journey away from the sun. The parking lot lights were still on at this point, but they turned off as the eclipse waned. I think this photo makes the sky look like a watercolor painting. We remained in Mount Vernon until the eclipse had fully ended, then hit the road back to St. Louis. It was a long and tiring day, but we were so glad that we got to experience the total eclipse. We were very, very lucky to have such incredible viewing conditions!!

2024 Total Eclipse begins to lift