Are you planning on heading down to view the solar eclipse from the path of "Totality"? If so here are some features to look out for!
1) The Partial Eclipse - This phase begins when the moon starts to move in front of the Sun's disk. This phase is the longest part of the Eclipse. Locations that are not located within the path of totality, including Central Illinois, will only see this phase of the Eclipse. Even though more than 90% of the sun's disk will be covered, you'll still need to wear solar glasses to watch it.
2) The Diamond Ring - The minutes leading up to Totality, the waning light of crescent Sun converges in to brilliant "diamond" on the edge of the moon. The faint glow of the Sun's corona creates a ring around the moon. Even though most of the Sun's light is blocked by the Moon, you'll need to wear your solar glasses to see it.
3) Baily's Beads - The final moment before totality, you may see the "diamond ring" break up in to beads along the edge of the Moon. This is created as the sun's light shines through the low-lying valleys along the edge of the Moon. Even though the Sun's light is limited, you still need to wear solar glasses see it.
4) Totality - This is the moment the Sun disappears behind the Moon. Locations within the path of totality will fade in to a darkness that is similar to dusk. Along the glow of the Sun's corona around the moon, you'll be able to see stars along with the planets of Jupiter, Mercury, Mars, and Venus. This is the only phase of the eclipse you can watch with your solar glasses off. Totality will last a little more than two minutes so, remember to place your solar glasses back on before the end of totality!
5) Partial Eclipse (Final Stages) - The Sun's crescent will begin to grow as the Moon begins to move away from the Sun's disk. This final stage will last for approximately an hour and a half. You'll need to have your eclipse glasses on in order to see this phase of the eclipse.