Mother Nature isn’t cooperating with skywatchers’ hopes to see the eclipse in the Chicago area today.
Cloud coverage is making it difficult to see the full effect of the partial eclipse.
Still, the clouds weren’t thick enough to keep the sun completely at bay. The giant orb being covered by the moon was still somewhat visible through a soupy pall created by cirrus clouds.
Thicker cumulus clouds and rain were once part of the forecast, but now meteorologists are saying that won’t happen for several hours, if at all.
At 1:18 p.m., about 87 percent to 90 percent of the sun will be covered as the moon passes between the Earth and the sun. The moon will begin to cover the sun at 11:50 a.m. in the suburbs, and the show ends about 2:40 p.m.
In southern Illinois, where the moon will totally eclipse the sun today, the forecast likewise is getting better. Earlier expectations suggested rain at the eclipse’s peak, but forecasts now call for partly cloudy skies and rain holding off. However, larger clouds loomed as the totality of the eclipse neared.
Viewing events are being hosted by libraries, schools, planetariums and organizations throughout the area.
The cloudy forecast won’t have a large effect on a free Chicago Eclipse Fest at the Adler Planetarium, aside from a potential dip in attendance, spokeswoman Lauren Kotarski said. In addition to hosting the outdoor viewing party, she said, the planetarium will stream live NASA footage of the eclipse over the clouds, as well as from areas in the path of totality.
The rain or shine event, scheduled for 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., also will include live entertainment, hands-on science activities and food trucks.
The Morton Arboretum in Lisle will hold a viewing event in its courtyard from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. as long as shadows are still visible, said Sarah Sargent, manager of interpretation and exhibits. In the event of rain or heavy cloud coverage, live footage of the eclipse will be shown inside the visitor center.
Eclipse festivities will also be held at Harper College in Palatine barring any unsafe weather conditions, said Kim Pohl, media relations manager. The outdoor event from noon to 2 p.m. will feature stations where attendees can make pinhole cameras or learn about the science behind the eclipse.