Solar Eclipse Is Big Business For Illinois

Authored by Mike Shedlock via,

People from worldwide are converging on Southern Illinois today to witness a total eclipse of the sun. I will be among that crowd.

We booked our hotel late, as in a couple months ago. The closest, in fact, the only room we could find was at a Best Western in Paducah, Kentucky, for nearly $400 a night.

Every hotel in Southern Illinois was booked solid. Carbondale, Illinois, home of Southern Illinois University is one of the big beneficiaries.

The Wall Street Journal reports Carbondale Plans to Make Hay While Sun Doesn’t Shine.

This roughly 25,000-person college town in southern Illinois will become shrouded in total darkness for as long as two minutes and 40 seconds during Monday’s solar eclipse, longer than almost any other location in the country.


But for Carbondale city administrators who have been preparing for the phenomenon since last summer, the eclipse is as much an opportunity to boost the city’s faltering university-based economy as it is a chance to view a cosmic light show.


Carbondale’s population is expected to double Monday as astronomers, NASA scientists, curiosity-seekers, students of all ages and international media trek here for an event that could generate $8 million in local economic activity, according to city estimates. Carbondale businesses generate about $600 million annually in economic activity, according to the city.


The town’s moment in the blocked-out sun couldn’t come at a better time.


Southern Illinois University Carbondale, the city’s largest employer, has seen funding delays in recent years as a result of a record-breaking state budget stalemate in Springfield.


Carbondale normally relies on each student to generate $10,000 annually in local economic activity, said Mayor John “Mike” Henry, but dwindling student enrollment has cost the city about $50 million a year. Drugs and crime in pockets of the community have stretched local police and social services.


“Right at the beginning, we said, ‘We cannot fail at this,’” Mr. Henry said. “We’re going to overplan. We’re going to overspend. We’re going to do everything possible so that every single person has the best experience that they can have.”


Mr. Henry expedited the first phase of an expansive downtown-revitalization effort, spending about $1.75 million to tear up sidewalks, unify the streetscape, update public parking and improve street lighting.

Best Experience

In an effort to produce the “best experience” for everyone I can tell you the police were out en masse. I have never seen so many Illinois state troopers in my entire life.

In one 20 mile stretch on I-24 between the I-57/I-24 junction and Paducah, we saw seven unmarked cars with drivers pulled over. How many cars still in hiding is unknown.

This is big business for sure. Police and hotels shared the wealth. What effect this has on future Illinois tourism remains to be seen. But like world fairs and Olympics, I expect the benefits to be muted, if not negative, in relation to the amount of money spent in preparation.

Mish Setup

That is an EOS 5D Mark IV with a Canon 100-400mm L lens. Here is my Equipment List.

I grabbed the shot of part of my eclipse setup moments ago. The above image is not color corrected or sharpened in my typical fashion. I decided at the last-minute to do this article.

I have two cameras, two tripods, and computer-controlled software to fire my camera at the right time (hopefully), based on GPS positioning or longitude, latitude, and altitude at a site I selected on Sunday at Fern Cliffe State Park in Goreville, Illinois.

Note the black tape on the focusing ring. A few nights ago I focused on the full moon and taped the focusing ring in place. I am using mirror lockup to damp camera vibrations and will be bracketing like mad.

I have two cables from my camera to a computer via a USB to Com port setup to trigger shots at specified ISOs and shutter speeds, all programmed in advance, based on research of likely exposures needed. One cable fires the shutter, the other controls ISO and exposure.

I spent at least 60 hours testing my script and getting everything to run.

Minor League vs Major League

If that seems like a massive amount of work, I would agree. But I will also tell you it is minor league.

The NASA article 2 Minutes, 6 Hands, 1 Chance explains what major league looks like.

Here is an image clip.

I believe that attached to their massive telescope setup is the same lens and camera I am using. As in attached, I mean physically attached. When the telescope moves so does the Canon camera.

They have six hands to make last second adjustments. They also have tracking mounts that automatically move at the speed the sun is moving in the sky.

People come from all over the world thinking they will get good images. Realistically, they do not have a chance.

I hope to get one reasonable image. I may devote one camera to video. I still have not decided. If I do, the video will be wide angle because the sun is so high in the sky for this eclipse.

This entire exercise may be for naught, for everyone. Clouds can ruin everything. Even if it is sunny there are a thousand other things that can easily go wrong.

However, I found what I think is the perfect spot. I will be there at 7:00 AM or so to claim it.

Wish me luck. I will post results – what went right – and wrong within a few days or so. NASA will be much faster, I am sure.

Infographic: A Total Eclipse Is A Rare Event  | Statista

You will find more statistics at Statista


SethPoor Looney Mon, 08/21/2017 - 11:44 Permalink

The scientists are all talking like it’s a sure thing.On August 21, the “moon” will pass between the Earth and the sun, obscuring the light of the latter. The government agency NASA says this will result in “one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights.” The astronomers there claim to have calculated down to the minute exactly when and where this will happen, and for how long. They have reportedly known about this eclipse for years, just by virtue of some sort of complex math.This seems extremely unlikely. I can’t even find these eclipse calculations on their website to check them for myself.Meanwhile the scientists tell us we can’t look at it without special glasses because “looking directly at the sun is unsafe.”That is, of course, unless we wear glasses that are on a list issued by these very same scientists. Meanwhile shysters generate untold revenue from these “eclipse glasses."Let’s follow the money a little further. Hotels along the “path of totality”—a region drawn up by Obama-era NASA scientists—have been sold out for months.In fact the entire politico-scientifico-corporate power structure is aligned behind the eclipse. This includes MSM.

In reply to by Looney

Creepy_Azz_Crackaah (not verified) SethPoor Mon, 08/21/2017 - 12:01 Permalink

This is where the gubmint tells the bright inner city EBTites "if you don't show up and vote for moar free $hit there will be YUGE consequences. To prove how powerful and serious we are we're going to take away the sun for a short period today."

(I believe that Christopher Columbus - racist, sexist, homophobe - used a similar threat to get the natives to back down a few years back.)

In reply to by SethPoor

Gadocat99 Mon, 08/21/2017 - 11:20 Permalink

The crazy part is the eclipse 7 years from now will go through this area again.Today it is probably going to rain in Carbondale.  St Louis has got a good shot at good viewing conditions and it is just an hour northwest from Carbondale -- so St Louis is expecting a traffic jam ala Los Angeles.

SRV Mon, 08/21/2017 - 11:20 Permalink

Any idea why, why all the publicity, none of the info maps seem to include the time across the US path... you'd think that would be basic, and included in all?

restelle Mon, 08/21/2017 - 11:24 Permalink

What a joke! I live just a hop north of Columbia, MO and I'm not even going to bother to step out of my house to look at this nonsense.So, it will get dark for a couple minutes...    

iamerican4 (not verified) Mon, 08/21/2017 - 11:24 Permalink

This is the "bookend" for the last coast-to-coast total eclipse five months before the U.S. Fifth Column of the pedo homo Anti-Christ we came to America in express covenant with our named Sovereign to escape, rose to full power in WW1 victory. Their Organized Crime, MSM-controlling, Hitler-financing, Holohoaxing FedScam ruling false-elite faction JFK ended has for more than a hundred years usurped Our Holy Nation - the only fulfillment of the biblically prophesied "Zion," "Israel Restored," God's "Promised Land" - and after their assassinating President Kennedy and Dr. King to return us to Rome's Vietnam slave plantation as papal catspaw and restore the debt bondage money scheme JFK had ended; which promotes illegal immigration as an organized army of pawns for invasion and conquest; and, along with many other abominations - including their latest Charlottesville psyop/hoax - committed 9/11: with God's anointed, first among equals, Donald Trump by grace now Elect of the sovereign People, the Beast of (((Gog))) and Babylon prophesied in Ezekiel 38:11 shall now be eclipsed, cast down as foretold. The Risen Babylon we came to America to escape in express covenant with God, our named Sovereign, shall then "fall in a day," Our Republic restored under the rule of Truth and Justice, the Creator again the "King of America" alone, the People once more sovereign. Praise God.Death for Treason - Justice for John and Martin, and Pat Tillman; and for our Vietnam and 9/11 dead.

pine_marten Mon, 08/21/2017 - 11:35 Permalink

The odds of the celestial symmetry that cause the moon to appear the same size as the sun and also the earth's shadow to neatly cover the moon are small behond belief. 

coast1 Mon, 08/21/2017 - 11:39 Permalink

Salem, 3 cities regarding eclipse view...Its all quiet here and roads are smooth, as have been for several days.  Seems the government and media made a big hype about nothing, simpl to put more police out there and to control us...The hype last week called for 5 hour delays on the streets, fear pron to the max...and nothing except the grocery stores are a bit mnore crowded..

baldknobber Mon, 08/21/2017 - 11:39 Permalink

Sonething that happens once every ten years is not a rare event. Hell married blowjobs are rarer than this.......for other people,, of course I'm a studly sex machine

libertysghost Mon, 08/21/2017 - 11:47 Permalink

Live here in SOILL and work at the U (I'm one of the "good ones" I swear...but you know that because I've been here at ZH a while eh? ;-) ).Everybody and their brother created some event to try and make some money off the event...can't blame them...but you have so many "events' competing for the same 100,000 visitors or so spread out over untold square miles and it's not been the "crowds" everyone expected at any "one" of them really.  Still a fun weekend.