A crowd of people are in the stands of Saluki Stadium to view the total solar eclipse in 2017.

The crowd at Saluki Stadium reacts to the total solar eclipse during festivities at Southern Illinois University Carbondale in August 2017. A total solar eclipse once more will darken the skies over SIU on Monday, April 8.

March 06, 2024

SIU plans four days of science, fun-filled events to celebrate 2024 eclipse

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Once in a lifetime – again – but even better.

Southern Illinois University Carbondale will once more be the epicenter – the crossroads – for a total solar eclipse that will traverse much of the country on Monday, April 8. And just like the last time this happened – seven years ago, in 2017 – the university has an amazing slate of family-friendly, fun and science planned, along with its partner, NASA.

Sarah Vanvooren, director of events and outreach for SIU, said the many events will enrich the eclipse experience for the public with a diverse set of options catering to different interests, ensuring there is something for everyone.

“Our event variety will enhance engagement and allow individuals to customize their eclipse experience,” Vanvooren said. “We’re aiming to create a sense of community and shared celebration and foster a collective enjoyment of the celestial phenomenon. Overall, we’re hoping this extensive range of events contributes to a more immersive, enjoyable and memorable eclipse experience for the public.”

The eclipse experience at SIU starts on April 5 – the Friday before Eclipse Day – and runs all weekend. Science-based workshops, arts and crafts, live music, a fun run, a convention and much more span the three days leading up to the celestial event as well as Eclipse Day.

Most events are free and open to the public. Two events – Eclipse Day at Saluki Stadium and Saluki Eclipse Con – are ticketed, but low cost.

Vanvooren said SIU is pulling out the stops in its collaborative efforts with NASA and Adler Planetarium to offer visitors extraordinary opportunities that will heighten their enjoyment of the total solar eclipse.

“Acknowledging the diverse audience, as well as first-time eclipse viewers and eclipse enthusiasts, we are committed to catering to the interests of all attendees,” Vanvooren said. “2024 will be just as positive, impactful, fun and memorable as 2017.”

Southern Illinois Crossroads Eclipse Festival and stadium show

Saluki Stadium is the epicenter of Eclipse Day events. SIU will team up with Adler Planetarium, NASA EDGE and others to offer a guided, fun-filled total solar eclipse experience.

The horseshoe-shaped facility has a seating capacity of 15,000, offering plenty of sky-filled views. Seating includes chairback seats as well as bleacher seating and spots on the grass berm enclosing the north end zone. Saluki Stadium is located at 1415 Arena Drive on campus. Doors open at 11 a.m. on Eclipse Day. Get tickets for the stadium and parking passes here.

The stadium’s guided tour is part of the overall four-day Southern Illinois Crossroads Eclipse Festival. View the festival schedule, food options (click and scroll down) and parking information. To purchase a parking pass only for Eclipse Day, go here.

Crossroads Eclipse Research Workshop

Science is the focal point for this event, which runs April 5-8. The workshop will highlight opportunities for research and astrophotography at designated observation areas at the SIU Farms Astronomy Observation Area, also known as the Dark Site, as well as on the main campus for workshop participants. Participants are asked to present on their research project to submit brief abstracts for either talks and/or poster presentations, and some may be selected to give presentations on Saturday, April 6. Organizers also will display research posters.

Crossroads Astronomy, Science and Technology Expo

The expo, which is free and open to the public, will highlight organizations and businesses specializing in solar, astronomy, science and new technologies. Set for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday and Monday, April 7 and 8, at Banterra Center, the event is a unique opportunity for the public to learn about cutting-edge science and technology, products and services.

Crossroads Art and Craft Fair

Be sure to check out approximately 30 vendors sharing their arts and crafts directly north of the Saluki Stadium April 7-8. The event opens at 10:30 a.m. Sunday and runs through 6 p.m., then reopens at 9 a.m. on Eclipse Day and will continue until 5 p.m. Art in many different styles and media will be available for viewing and purchase.

Saluki Eclipse Con

This event celebrates science, technology, arts, humanities and comics, and you don’t have to be a die-hard comic or tech enthusiast to enjoy it. Star-studded panels, workshops, demonstrations, cosplay, networking opportunities and more all will be on tap. The con kicks off with a gaming event Friday, April 5, and runs 4-9 p.m. that day. An Eclipse Con ticket must be purchased to participate in the gaming event and the main event, which runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 6-7 at the SIU Student Center.

Eclipse Eve Live: Sky Observers Hangout

Organizers have planned a special episode of Sky Observers Hangout in front of a live audience from 7-9 p.m. Sunday, April 7, on the steps of Shryock Auditorium (indoors, if inclement weather). Join Adler’s Planetarium’s astronomy educators, who will lead the effort to get you up to speed for the next day’s eclipse. Special guests from SIU and NASA EDGE will join the live stream as well.