JOLIET– State Senator Rachel Ventura will be offering free protective glasses to view the upcoming total solar eclipse.

“This is an exciting opportunity for all Illinoisans as we are one of thirteen states with the best view,” said Ventura (D-Joliet). “I encourage everyone to be cautious of their surroundings and not block roadways to take pictures during the event.”

The last total solar eclipse was seven years ago in 2017, and on April 8 it will be visible again. It’s set to be the longest totality on land for over a decade and spans over 128 miles of Illinois. The next total solar eclipse visible in the United States won't be until 2044.

According to NASA, total solar eclipses are particularly important because they allow scientists to see a part of the sun's atmosphere – known as the corona – which is too faint to see except when the bright light of the Sun is blocked.

The solar eclipse is also a time for people to gather to experience the rare event together. People planning to travel should visit the Illinois Department of Transportation's website for travel tips and information on how to prepare.

“It’s important we keep our eyes safe while experiencing this amazing event,” said Ventura. “The Illinois Optometric Association was kind enough to donate protective eyewear to watch the total solar eclipse, and I hope that residents will stop by my district office for their free pair.”

People can pick up their free pair of protective glasses at Ventura’s district office located at 221 Springfield Ave., Unit 3 in Joliet. For more information about the total solar eclipse in Illinois, visit here.