Celebrate the solar eclipse with the Adler Planetarium

Posted by Alison Klesman
on Monday, July 31, 2017

The Adler Planetarium: The Western Hemisphere's first planetarium, and your stop for eclipse information and fun this year. // Photo credit: TonyTheTiger at English Wikipedia

Located in Chicago, Illinois, along the scenic lakefront, the Adler Planetarium is the United States’ oldest planetarium and the first planetarium in the Western Hemisphere. Although it’s a well-established institution, the Adler is also a forward-thinking and modern establishment focused on bringing the wonder of the skies down to Earth through engaging exhibits, science education promotion, and special events.

The last time the Chicago area was in the path of a total solar eclipse, Chicago wasn’t even a city yet - it was 1806. And the next time the city will fall under the path of totality is 2099. But that doesn’t mean Chicago residents and visitors can’t enjoy the Great American Eclipse from the Windy City: On August 21, Chicago will receive a nearly 90 percent solar eclipse, and the Adler wants to make sure you have a safe and memorable experience.

The Adler has several events and exhibits leading up to and occurring on eclipse day; here’s a brief look:

Chasing Eclipses Exhibit
Right now, you can visit the temporary exhibit Chasing Eclipses, which highlights not only the science of total solar eclipses, but the fascination they hold for all who see them and the people who chase them around the globe. The exhibit includes one-of-a-kind artifacts, photos, and an “eclipse simulator” to give you a taste of totality from inside the planetarium.

A pair of giant eclipse glasses, courtesy of the Adler Planetarium, at the Oak Street Beach. // Photo Credit: Jennifer Klesman

Giant Eclipse Glasses
If you’ll be viewing the solar eclipse at all, there’s one thing you absolutely need: eclipse glasses. The Adler is highlighting eclipse viewing safety with traveling eclipse glasses of epic proportions. You can find these giant eclipse glasses all over town, including Maggie Daley Park (July 21-August 4), Grant Park (August 4-August 18), and Daley Plaza (July 10-August 21). The glasses serve as a reminder of the upcoming eclipse, as well as provide information about the event and how to make sure you watch it safely. If you attend an Adler event (see below) on eclipse day, you’ll receive a complimentary pair of eclipse glasses as long as supplies are available.

And, if you’re interested in winning a membership at to the planetarium, don’t forget to snap a selfie and post it on Instagram with the hashtag #EquippedtoEclipse.

Chicago’s Eclipse Fest
If you’ll be in the Windy City on eclipse day, then there’s no need to view this momentous event alone. You can watch the partial eclipse together with Adler staff and volunteers at the city’s biggest eclipse-viewing block party: Chicago’s Eclipse Fest.

Will you be ready for August 21? // Photo credit: Jennifer Klesman

The free event includes general admission to the planetarium, as well as live entertainment, hands-on experiments and activities, telescope viewing and access to knowledgeable Adler staff for all your eclipse-related questions, and the opportunity to enjoy a meal from a local food truck. You’ll also receive a free pair of eclipse glasses to safely watch the eclipse while supplies remain available.

Alternatively, the Adler is also hosting a viewing event at Daley Plaza, including eclipse glasses and telescope viewing. The planetarium is also offering free eclipse glasses in several partner viewing locations, such as the Chicago Botanic Garden, the Chicago Public Library, and the Morton Arboretum.

If you’ll be traveling to either Carbondale, IL, or Perryville, MO, you can also take part in Adler-sponsored activities inside the path of totality.

The Adler Planetarium will be hosting a viewing party at Daley Plaza on August 21. // Photo Credit: JeremyA, Wikipedia

This August 21, the eclipse of a lifetime will occur. Now is the time to determine where you’ll be and who you’ll spend it with - and if you’re in the Chicago area, or near one of the Adler’s alternate viewing locations, consider including the Adler Planetarium and their resources in your eclipse day plans.

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