POUGHKEEPSIE, NY – A city in Southern Illinois is prepared for a huge intake of people in the latter days of summer and did not know what to expect. The population of this small city, 25,000 people, more than doubled during this cataclysmic event. This was an eclipse migration to a city that most Americans have never heard of.
“We did not know the exact number of people coming, but hotels were fully booked weeks and months in advance so we were expecting a lot of people” said K.V. Shajesh, a resident of Carbondale and a physics professor at Southern Illinois University. There is one main street that goes through Carbondale and it is
literally called Main Street. This road has three lanes and sometimes has four on each side, but most roads in Carbondale look like the suburbs; a regular road with one lane going one way and another going in the opposite direction.
However, this is what the people of Carbondale wanted. They figured that this event would be a massive boom to their local economy. NASA had a live stream video from Carbondale and the Weather Channel set up a TV broadcast in Southern Illinois University’s football stadium. People actually came to Carbondale.
On August 21st, 2017 the path of totality of the solar eclipse was to go over 14 states in America and be 70 miles wide. Carbondale is directly in this path of totality, which means for 2 minutes and 38 seconds, Carbondale was completely black at 1:21pm making it look like it was 1:21am. This is what people came to see from all over the United States, a not even 3-minute event that would go away as soon as it came. “We got very lucky because there were so many clouds in the sky that we thought we might not be able to see the eclipse” onlooker tourist Alessandro Pugliese said.
I asked Mr. Pugliese where he was traveling from and how long it took for him to get to Carbondale. “We’re from New York so we took a fight from JFK to O’Hare, stayed in Chicago for a couple days and then rented a car to get to Carbondale, which was a eight hour drive because of the traffic” says Pugliese, a college student at Syracuse University.
The next eclipse that will go over America and can be seen by 12 states will be on April 8th, 2024. The city of Carbondale, will again, be the center of attention on this date because the path of totality will go through the city for that eclipse in seven years. In fact, the people of Carbondale are so excited for the next eclipse that they have a countdown clock for it that reads at the time of this writing: 2398 days, 2 hours, 17 minutes, and 29 seconds.