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Category: Astronomy

A spiral galaxy with a yellow dot in the center and blue and white dots spiraling out from the center

Universe-Sized Questions: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Big Bang

Wednesday September 28th
Michelle Nichols and Geza Gyuk

Header Image: This is NGC 1365, the barred spiral galaxy a part of the Fornax Cluster. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSC Dark matter. What is it? Why can’t we see it? And how is it related to dark energy and the Big Bang? Every day, we (the astronomers at the Adler Planetarium) get asked curious questions about […]

This is an image showing the outside of the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, IL at sunset in the fall.

Astronomy and Space Facts From A to Z

Wednesday August 24th
Colleen Cesaretti

Header Image: The outside of the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, IL at sunset in the fall. When you were a kid, you probably learned your ABC’s using stuff like, “A is for…apple” or “B is for…bee” or “C is for…cat” to represent each letter. While those options are all fine and good and cute, what if […]

The JWST is in the center with its yellow hexagonal mirrors facing the front as a team of people and a crane lifts up the telescope in a room.

Why The Adler Planetarium Will Only Ever Use The Initials JWST When Referencing The Most Powerful Space Telescope Ever Created

Tuesday August 23rd
Adler Planetarium Staff

Header Image: The JWST is being lifted into a clean room at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center before it was launched in December 2021. Image Credit: NASA/Desiree Stover In July 2022, the first images from the JWST captivated people all over the world, including here at the Adler Planetarium. This massive, collaborative effort to explore […]

JWST: The Most Powerful Infrared Space Telescope Humans Have Ever Created

Tuesday July 12th
Michelle Nichols and Geza Gyuk

Header Image: The Cosmic Cliffs in NGC 3324, also known as the Carina Nebula. This image was taken by the JWST and shows cosmic dust and gas a part of the nebula, but also previously obscured star nurseries and stars that we can now see with the space telescope’s infrared light. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, […]

Why Do All Aliens In Star Wars Have Faces?

Wednesday May 4th
Colleen Cesaretti

Header Image: Three Tusken Raider cosplayers sitting on the steps outside the Adler Planetarium for the 2014 Adler After Dark: Geek Chic event. As we were preparing to celebrate Star Wars Day, Adler Astronomer Dr. Geza Gyuk raised a very interesting scientific question about the Star Wars universe: Why do all the aliens in Star Wars […]

Eclipse of the Sun illustration from the Adler Planetarium's collections

Solar Eclipses and Lunar Eclipses Explained

Wednesday April 28th
Michelle Nichols

Header Image: Eclipse of the Sun illustration from the Adler Planetarium’s Collections Editor’s Note: This blog was originally published in April 2021 and was updated in April 2022 with more current information. There are several topics in astronomy that get lots of people excited: naked-eye visible comets, bright planets, auroras…but eclipses are generally at the […]

Illustration of Mars Perseverance landing on the Red Planet. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

10 Things You Should Know About The Mars Perseverance Rover Mission

Thursday February 11th
Colleen Cesaretti

Header Image: Illustration of Mars Perseverance landing on the Red Planet. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech Blog Last Updated: March 2022 Humans have been fascinated by the fourth planet from the Sun for centuries. At one point, there were some astronomers who were absolutely convinced that canals—created by alien life—stretched across its surface. One thing is for sure: […]

The Jupiter-Saturn Great Conjunction happening in December 2020 can be viewed when lookin southwest after local sunset.

The Jupiter And Saturn Great Conjunction Of 2020

Monday December 7th
Michelle Nichols

Header Image: The Jupiter-Saturn Great Conjunction happening in December 2020 can be viewed when lookin southwest after local sunset. In astronomy, we often tie a time period to something. “It’s been 50 years since this one thing happened,” or “it’s been 3 years since we saw this other event in the sky.” Every once in […]

Astrophotography picture of the Moon

What Is A Blue Moon?

Tuesday October 20th
Michelle Nichols

Header Image: Astrophotography picture of the Moon. Image Credit: Nick Lake What, exactly, is a blue moon, and how rare is it? This question seems like it should have a straightforward answer, but as with all things related to language, it’s complicated. Absurd, Impossible, or Rare? The phrase blue moon has been around for several […]

The Andromeda Galaxy taken by astrophotographer Nick Lake

Space Poetry

Thursday October 8th
Colleen Cesaretti

Image Caption: The Andromeda Galaxy taken by an astrophotographer. Image Credit: Nick Lake From galactic paintings to space poetry, everyone’s favorite out-of-this-world muse—aka our universe—inspires all kinds of stellar works of art. Our staff came together and composed a few short poems all about aspects of space that inspire them. STAGES In my youth, I […]

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