For me, what happens in space is in the abstract. It's impossible to relate to the movement of sun, moon and the stars. But during a total solar eclipse on August 21, standing at a point in Southern Illinois where totality lasted longer than anyplace else in the U.S. (granted, by milliseconds), it was no longer an abstract concept. Watching the moon slowly slip across the face of the sun, in perfect alignment, and cast the world around me into the dim light of totality, was magical.
The Meredith family, left, including Tara, Samantha, Bill and Barb, from Waterman, Ill., and Adrian Torres, Summer Wheless and Devyn Maki, from Austin, Texas, watch the solar eclipse at Giant City State Park near Carbondale.
Thomas Kasper, left, Kyle Mohr and his brother Braden, relax while waiting for the solar eclipse in Giant City State Park Monday, Aug. 21, 2017 in Carbondale, Ill. The three and another friend decided spontaneously Sunday afternoon to drive overnight from Merrill, Wis., arriving at 1 a.m.
Tammy and Paul Bronk use adapted eclipse glasses, to screen their faces from the sun, while viewing the early stages of the total solar eclipse from Giant City State Park near Carbondale Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. “It went fast but yet it felt like time stood still. Twilight and still and perfect, it was so beautiful," Tammy Bronk said.
A woman walks to a spot in Giant City State Park near Carbondale to watch the solar eclipse.
Jacob Gritter-Darr and his father, John Gritter drove from Kalamazoo, Mich. to watch the solar eclipse.
Joann Saratavich, left, from Elkhart, and her sister Rose, from Springfield, watch the solar eclipse at Giant City State Park near Carbondale.
Alfaro and Alexis Olivares of Chicago found a spot near a McDonalds restaurant in Carbondale where they could watch the solar eclipse.
Jimmy Kowalczyk, left, and his dad, Dan, watch the eclipse during totality at Giant City State Park near Carbondale.
Amanda Stiffler, left, Becca Solot and Caroline Lesniak, from Chicago, watch the solar eclipse at Giant City State Park near Carbondale. “Everyone around was just like freaking out together," said Stiffler, describing the moments of totality.
Rick Kasprzak, left, and Jim Lawless, drove overnight from Chicago and arrived in Carbondale before dawn to watch the solar eclipse. They joined others who parked behind a Huck's Convenient Store.
Charles Bailey, III, from Chicago, kicks up a hacky sack while waiting for the solar eclipse to begin in Giant City State Park near Carbondale.
Ron Smithberger holds a piece of paper with a pinhole, casting a shadow that his wife, Shannon, outlines with a pencil to show their daughters, Lorna and Rowan the effect of the solar eclipse in Giant City State Park near Carbondale. The Smithbergers traveled from Middleton, Wis.
Jim Smith, from Alton, photographs the solar eclipse at Giant City State Park near Carbondale.
Eugene Cho, left, Suyup Kim, Shotaro Ikeda and Surya Bakshi, University of Illinois students from Champaign, watch the eclipse as it nears totality in Giant City State Park near Carbondale. As the moon blocks more of the sun, colors become muted and contrast diminishes.
Dave Garten, an amateur astronomer from Kalamazoo, Mich., shares the view from his telescope with Eddie Villasenor, a University of Illinois student from Champaign, during the solar eclipse at Giant City State Park near Carbondale.
William O'Connor, left, his brother Sean, both from Chicago, and Justin Moll from St. Louis wait for the solar eclipse to begin at Giant City State Park near Carbondale.
Curtis Lergner of Homewood, Ill. shows a photo he captured of the solar eclipse at Giant City State Park near Carbondale.