CARBONDALE, Ill (CBS) — Just around midday, southern Illinois went dark.

The cause was the 2017 total solar eclipse, the first to go coast-to-coast in 100 years.

CBS 2’s Ed Curran reports that it started in Oregon, casting darkness as the moon totally blocked the sun. And In Carbondale, parents, students, photographers and astronomers gathered at Brehm Preparatory School — with solar glasses and lenses at the ready.

The day started with a mostly clear sky, but then clouds began to build — making many spectators a bit worried they might miss this rare celestial event.

About 18 minutes before the total eclipse, the moon partially covered the sun, creating a crescent shape. Then clouds moved in from time to time and covered up the view, too.

Everybody just hoped it would not ruin it.

Then, at the moment of totality, a cloud hid the sun from view.

Crowds pleaded for it to move.

Nonetheless, the eclipse began to cast Carbondale in darkness at midday.

Then, it happened.

The clouds moved away and the crowds began to hoot and holler.

A total eclipse emerged from the clouds.

It was breathtaking, viewing the corona without solar glasses—the only time it is safe to view the eclipse without eye protection.

Nobody went home disappointed.

“Unbelievable, I am so glad we got to see it,” said one woman.

“Oh man, we go so lucky on that one,” said another spectator.

The next total solar eclipse will return in 2024.