“Dear God, go away!” someone yelled at the cloud covering the eclipse, then something amazing happened

The cosmos promised an extravaganza, a show so epic, so rare, that tens of thousands of pilgrims journeyed to Southern Illinois for a front-row seat to Monday’s total solar eclipse.

But Mother Nature reigns on Earth and she can have a cutting sense of humor.

As towering cumulus clouds boiled up in what was a clear blue sky, a feeling of dread, of stomach butterflies, spread through the 15,000-seat sold-out Saluki Stadium at Southern Illinois University. The first bite of the eclipse and through more than half of the moon’s solar takeover was plain to see. People craned their necks, glasses on, and marveled.

Then, 10 minutes before totality at 1:10 p.m. CDT, a cloud like a fat dollop of whipped dessert floated overhead and sat.

For many, Monday’s eclipse — the first to cross coast-to-coast in 99 years — was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Limited by money, or Father Time, they filed into the stadium amid cheerleaders and a marching band with the hope that at 1:20 p.m. the moon would slide into place, the skies would darken, and a glittering corona like an angel’s halo would appear.

But would the stars align for them to see what they had traveled so far for? Read the rest of the story in The Palm Beach Post to find out. 

Steve Rogers, Venice, Fla., steps away from his telescope following a brief glimpse of totality of today’s solar eclipse on the campus of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Ill., on Monday, August 21, 2017. Rogers and his wife retired from SIU and traveled back to Illinois to see this eclipse. The telescope is projecting the partially eclipsed sun following totality. Cloud cover that coincided with totality limited the rare celestial even to only a few seconds for thousands gathered at the stadium. (Thomas Cordy / The Palm Beach Post)

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