Thousands See Eclipse in Carbondale

Saluki Stadium in Carbondale as eclipse totality nears.

Saluki Stadium in Carbondale as eclipse totality nears.

NASA EDGE Megacast

About 14,000 people filled Southern Illinois University's Saluki Stadium in Carbondale to watch Monday's total solar eclipse.

Clouds blocked the view of totality in Carbondale for the first minute or so, and NASA's Lou Mayo says he was a bit worried.

"You know, I'd lost track of where behind that cloud the sun was. So I was thinking, 'we're doomed - we're not going to see it.' And then the crowd started yelling, I started looking up - we got five, maybe ten seconds of totality, that's enough. That meets requirements - I am now an eclipse veteran!"

SIU spokeswoman Rae Goldsmith says some clouds appeared about 6 minutes before the eclipse was to reach totality and "the entire stadium was cheering the clouds away.'' Goldsmith says during the totality it was very quiet in the stadium but "at the end of it people were giving each other high fives'' and there was more cheering.

Experts have said the eclipse was to reach its great point of duration a few miles south of Carbondale.        

The school's event included 20-person suites for $10,000. SIU also had live eclipse video on the stadium scoreboard and marching band performances. Eclipse safety glasses were provided.

Story source: Illinois Public Radio