Nature Nearby: Where To Watch 'Unequaled Beauty' of Aug. 21 Solar Eclipse

Nature Nearby: Where To Watch ‘Unequaled Beauty’ of Aug. 21 Solar Eclipse

  • Nature Nearby is written by Valerie Blaine, the nature programs manager for the Forest Preserve District of Kane County. You may reach her at

In case you’ve been on another planet and haven’t heard –  there will be a solar eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21. This is an experience you won’t want to miss! The moon will pass between the sun and the earth, casting an eerie shadow on the world.

What’s really cool is that we get an eclipse like this once in a blue moon — well, a lot less often than a blue moon! The last chance we had to see a solar eclipse in Illinois was back in 1979. The next one will be in 2024.

In eager anticipation of the eclipse, the naturalists at Creek Bend Nature Center are offering crafts, activities, and displays that you can enjoy all month long. Kids can make pin-hole viewers and create eclipse art. For adults, we have special eclipse viewers for loan, and informative displays. There is no charge to visit the nature center.

“We’ve had fun creating interactive materials and activities to help people learn about this incredible experience,” said Rachel Neff, naturalist intern for the Forest Preserve District of Kane County. “Lots of people will be at work or in school on the eclipse day, so we’re offering things you can do all month long.”

If you are free on the big day (Aug. 21), come join the naturalists outside the nature center to experience this truly awesome phenomenon. The moon will begin to nudge the sun at 11:52 a.m. The most coverage we will see will be at 1:18 p.m. The moon will continue to slide across the sun until 2:41 p.m.

The 90 Percent Solution

While most hard-core astronomers are headed to southern Illinois, Missouri, and other areas in the path of totality, we will be able to experience 90 percent of the eclipse in Kane County. Not too shabby! The path of the eclipse can be seen at

What can you expect, if the skies are clear on Aug. 21? An experience of unequaled beauty and wonder.

My good friend and go-to guy for all-things-astronomy, Bob King, described the eclipse as “one of the most jaw-dropping events in all of naked-eye astronomy” in his book Night Sky with the Naked Eye. (Please note: “naked eye” means sans telescope. Do NOT look directly at the sun during the eclipse. See this NASA post to learn why. )

“Daylight will fade and be replaced with a hybrid twilight that resembles a bright, full-moon night, but with a deep blue sky and brighter pastel pinks in the distance above the horizon,” King said.

As if this weren’t cool enough, you can even see some stars and planets during an eclipse — in the middle of the day! (Check out )

Be sure to stop by the nature center and share in eclipse excitement this month. We’re located in LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve, 37W700 Dean St., St. Charles. Our hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday; noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. There is no charge to visit the nature center. Call 630-444-3190 or email for more information.

Creek Bend Nature Center is out of this world!

About Creek Bend Nature Center

Creek Bend Nature Center features interpretive displays and hands-on exhibits of interest to visitors of all ages. Come see our Prairie Ecology exhibit, with bison dating back to the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, and biodiversity components. The Nature Center includes an extremely popular wetland exhibit titled “A Clams-Eye View of the Fox River.”

There’s so much to see and do here! We welcome you to browse the exhibits, sign-up for guided nature hikes and programs, or enjoy self-guided activities.

Admission to Creek Bend Nature Center is free.

SOURCE: Forest Preserve District of Kane County website