The Eclipse 2017 Preview - The Adler Planetarium Throws a Giant Block Party

On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will be visible in parts of the United States for the first time since 1979. In Chicago, at 11:54 am CST, the Moon will start to block our view of the Sun, covering up to 87 percent of it by 1:19 pm. The last time Chicago was this close to the path of totality (when the Moon blocks the Sun completely) was 92 years ago in 1925! In celebration, the Adler Planetarium is throwing a giant block party, inviting everyone to come together to experience this rare celestial event as a community, and making it possible by offering free general admission to all.


The Adler Planetarium is ready


From 9:30 am–6:00 pm, the Adler is hosting Chicago’s Eclipse Fest—the celebration of the summer—on the Adler grounds and in the parking lot adjacent to the planetarium. All guests will get #EquippedToEclipse with free safe solar viewing glasses, and can enjoy live entertainment, hands-on science for all ages, programming from partners across the city, local food trucks, and experience the solar eclipse with us and 10,000 of their Chicagoland neighbors and friends.


Learning about the eclipse


Inside the museum, guests will receive free general admission to check out our exhibitions, including our latest, Chasing Eclipses, which prepares you to experience an eclipse. Guests will also be treated to a live-feed of the total solar eclipse from locations that are in the path of totality in one of our immersive dome theaters.


Solar eclipse -1994


Chicago Eclipse Fest experience includes:

  • • A Mad Science Show live on stage
  • • Entertainment by Jim & the Povolos
  • • Ask an Astronomer!
  • • Eclipse Trivia
  • • Design challenges including solar car races, making solar ovens, and creating pinhole projectors
  • • Solar science demonstrations including UV beads, a sundial station, and sun prints
  • • Fun for our littlest guests including bubbles, sensory activities, and light and shadow activities
  • • Carnival fun including giant Jenga®, a jumbo bounce house, gladiator obstacle course, giant parachute, jumbo ladder toss, bean bag toss, and a sandbag game


Eclipse chasers


  • • Collections Corner (inside the museum)
  • • Rocket fun
  • • Telescope viewing
  • • A selfie station
  • • More to be announced!

As of July 10, programming partners include: Mad Science, Chicago Park District, Solar Fuels Institute at Northwestern University, Museum of Science and Industry, Shedd Aquarium, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, United States Postal Service, ISEA Solar Ambassadors, Chalk Artist Shawn Hayes, Broadway in Chicago, Navy Pier, Chicago Sky (WNBA), American Writer’s Museum and Chicago Children’s Museum. More partners are being added each day!

An eclipse


Work in Chicago’s Loop and can’t make it to the planetarium during the eclipse? The Adler will also host a viewing station at Daley Plaza. Staff will be on-site to hand out safe solar viewing glasses and answer eclipse-related questions.


An artists rendering of the eclipse


The Adler Planetarium is partnering with Southern Illinois University to provide eclipse-day programming in and around the SIU football stadium. SIU is located in Carbondale, Illinois, which is directly in the path of totality (where the Sun will be covered completely). SIU staff estimate that up to 50,000 visitors from Illinois and beyond will join the celebration. Tickets and information are available at


In earlier times this measured features of the eclipse


Our Far Horizons team will be in Perryville, Missouri, launching two high-altitude balloons to capture totality from the stratosphere! Witness the launch from the Perryville Municipal Airport, engage with astronomers and experts in a Q&A session, and experience totality from this unique location on August 21, from 10:00 am- 2:00 pm. More information is available at . BALLOON LAUNCH IN PERRYVILLE, MISSOURI

For more information on the Adler’s eclipse-day plans, visit our Solar Eclipse page:

Presented by BMO Harris with additional support provided by ITW.


About the Adler:

The Adler Planetarium—America’s First Planetarium—is more than a museum; it is a laboratory, a classroom, and a community exploring the Universe together. Each year, nearly 570,000 visitors experience the museum’s interactive exhibitions, live planetarium shows, hands-on, minds-on STEM education programs, and world-class collections. Founded in 1930 by Chicago business leader Max Adler, the Adler Planetarium is a recognized leader in public engagement. The museum's scientists, historians, and educators inspire the next generation of explorers and invite you to explore space with us.

Photos: Courtesy of the Adler Planetarium

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