Thousands fill Southern Illinois University’s stadium to watch eclipse

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CARBONDALE, IL - AUGUST 21: Marching band members Ashton Websterand Haley Stellmach watch the solar eclipse at Saluki Stadium on the campus of Southern Illinois University on August 21, 2017 in Carbondale, Illinois. Although much of it was covered by a cloud, with approximately 2 minutes 40 seconds of totality the area in Southern Illinois experienced the longest duration of totality during the eclipse. Millions of people are expected to watch as the eclipse cuts a path of totality 70 miles wide across the United States from Oregon to South Carolina on August 21. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

CARBONDALE, IL —┬áThousands of people were preparing to watch Monday’s solar eclipse in Illinois, many in the southern part of the state where a total eclipse is expected.

About 14,000 people filled Southern Illinois University’s Saluki Stadium in Carbondale to watch Monday’s total solar eclipse.

SIU spokeswoman Rae Goldsmith says some clouds appeared about 6 minutes before the eclipse was to reach totality and “the entire stadium was cheering the clouds away.” Goldsmith says during the totality it was very quiet in the stadium but “at the end of it people were giving each other high fives” and there was more cheering.

Experts have said the eclipse was to reach its great point of duration a few miles south of Carbondale.

The school’s event included 20-person suites for $10,000. SIU also had live eclipse video on the stadium scoreboard and marching band performances. Eclipse safety glasses were provided.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner attended the viewing event.