Heavy Clouds Don't Dampen Turnout Of Solar Eclipse Spectators At NIU

Aug 21, 2017

Hundreds of spectators flocked to the Northern Illinois University courtyard near Davis Hall for the solar eclipse.

Patrons ranged in age and background. Some used eclipse glasses provided by NIU's STEM Department, while others made it a do-it-yourself project. 

Homemade viewing devices included cut-out cereal boxes and paper plates adorned with tinfoil. 

Nicole Henryson is an NIU history professor who brought her kids to work today. She said she's grateful to witness her second solar eclipse as an adult. 

“Because now you understand," she says, "you know what’s going on, and then you get to do it with your kids. My oldest is 17 here, and so it’s something you get to share with them. And it’s nice.”

Pati Sievert, director of the NIU STEM Outreach program, said that -- despite a gloomy forecast -- she was pleased with the high turnout. 

"I haven’t had this experience before, so I’m excited," she said. "I’m really happy with how clear the images are on our telescope screens."

The solar eclipse peaked a little after 1 p.m.

Meanwhile, thousands of spectators were in Carbondale, which is the point for greatest duration of the solar eclipse. Carbondale's eclipse was visible for a little less than a minute, but visitors say they got what they came for -- their moment of totality. 

  • Illinois Public Radio's Jennifer Fuller contributed to this report.