‘Scopes in the City FAQ

What happens at a ‘Scopes in the City program?
It’s simple! We set up 1-2 telescopes, and anyone walking by is invited to look up with us and chat about what we’re seeing. Depending on how busy it is, we may also have a few quick hands-on activities to share with guests.

Is there a cost?
No! There is no cost to the host or participants for a ‘Scopes in the City appearance. This is a FREE event!

Where does ‘Scopes in the City go?
We are happy to take ‘Scopes in the City anywhere in the Chicagoland area! We appear often at Chicago Public Library branches, parks, neighborhoods, and other places where people gather. While we are not limited to taking ‘Scopes only to locations in Chicago, we give priority to scheduling programs within Chicago.

Is this program only for a particular age group?
The sky belongs to everyone, and we invite everyone to join us in looking up!

How long is a typical session?
We usually set up our telescope(s) for 1-2 hours.

Is ‘Scopes in the City only available at night?
No! In May, June, and July, we often book times during the day to view the Sun, primarily because sunset is so late during these months.

Is ‘Scopes in the City only available during warm months?
No. We schedule ‘Scopes in the City throughout the year. In fact, some of the best sky viewing is during the winter. Bundle up if you join us for one of those dates!

What do you look at through your telescopes?
It depends on what is in the sky throughout the year and the light pollution situation at the site. Generally, we try to schedule dates/times when the Moon or a bright planet (such as Venus, Mars, Jupiter, or Saturn) is visible, or we may schedule a daytime event to view the Sun safely.

What do you do if it is cloudy?
Usually, a ‘Scopes in the City appearance is completely at the mercy of the weather. If it is cloudy or too windy, we generally have to cancel the program. In limited cases, we may be able to reschedule. We can usually make the go/no-go call about 24 hours prior to the date/time of the program based on the weather forecasts. This gives us and our program partners time to get the word out about the cancellation. (Check the Adler website and Facebook.) For a small number of programs, we may be able to take the appearance indoors with some hands-on activities, though this is not an option available in all cases.

Can I book ‘Scopes in the City to appear at my event?
We welcome suggestions for where ‘Scopes in the City can appear, but at this time the program is not available for private (non-public) events. Please send location suggestions anytime to ScopesInTheCity@adlerplanetarium.org. We generally schedule 25-30 ‘Scopes in the City programs throughout the year.

How do you select a site for ‘Scopes in the City?
The program must be open to the general public—ideally in a high-traffic area—and the site must have a clear view to the southeast, south, and/or southwest sky. If there is a question about the sky viewing suitability of a particular site, we may request to make an advance visit to ascertain this before we schedule a program, or we may request pictures of the site from the host.

Does a site need access to electricity?
No, our telescopes include both unpowered and battery-powered models. We’re self-sufficient.

I have additional questions.
We welcome your questions! Please email us at ScopesInTheCity@adlerplanetarium.org.