SIUC to host family-friendly activities for total lunar eclipse

CARBONDALE, Ill. (KFVS) - A Heartland university is planning some family-friendly activities for this weekend’s total lunar eclipse.

Southern Illinois University is inviting folks to Saluki Stadium on Sunday, May 15 to watch the out-of-this-world event.

Organizers say they’ll have movies, science projects and telescopes.

Activities kick off at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday and will run until midnight.

The lunar eclipse starts at about 9:30 and will reach totality at 10:30 p.m.

According to a release from SIUC, total lunar eclipses happen about once every 2.5 years.

Caused by the alignment of the sun, Earth and moon, the event occurs when the moon is full and illuminated by the sun. As the evening goes on, the Earth’s shadow is cast across the moon, causing it to go from a full to crescent before finally turning a shade of red-orange at totality.

There will be about 10 telescopes on the turf at Saluki stadium, with guides helping you understand what you are looking for.

But according Bob Baer, there will be more to look at in the sky other than the Lunar Eclipse.

“So the space station flyover for that night, there’s two of them, ones at 8:51pm and lens at 10:30pm.” said Baer

And Baer says no matter where you are at, be sure to check out the lunar eclipse.

“Even if they don’t have time to come to the event, step outside check out the lunar eclipse throughout the evening.”

If you are coming out to Saluki Stadium Sunday evening, Baer says to bring something to be able to lay or sit and look up into the sky.

“We’re going to be using the field. So bring out a blanket, that’s what most people bring or some people bring lawn chairs and just spread out on the field. Remember no sharp objects on the field.”

According to organizers, the event is the first in a series spanning the next couple years, culminating in the April 8, 2024, total solar eclipse in southern Illinois.

Bob Baer, specialist in the department and co-chair of the regional 2024 Eclipse Steering Committee, said SIU is starting the planning process for the total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024.

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Amber Ruch

Amber has worked at KFVS for eight years.