Southern Illinois is about to have its moment in the sun — and out of it — Aug. 21.
That's when a total solar eclipse will make its way over the U.S. mainland, coast to coast, for the first time in nearly a century.
Tens of thousands of people, including a small army of NASA scientists who will be broadcasting the cosmic spectacle from Carbondale, are expected to pour into a diagonal swath at the bottom tip of the state.
Astronomers, serious eclipse-chasers, regular Joes with FOMO — they're all looking to snag a coveted spot in the "path of totality," a 70-mile-wide sweet spot in which the moon will completely block the sun as the eclipse makes its cross-country trek from Oregon to South Carolina.
While the rest of the continental U.S. will have to make due with a partial eclipse, those in the path of totality will be treated to what promises to be an unforgettable natural wonder, provided the weather cooperates and the clouds stay away.