Arguably, one of the most well-known fixtures of our night sky is the Big Dipper. But did you know that this night-sky staple once served as a beacon to freedom here in America during the time of the Underground Railroad? In the early-to-mid 19th century, countless American slaves used the Big Dipper—aka the Drinking Gourd—as […]
This month will be a little longer than usual, but still shorter than most months of the calendar — because it’s February 2020. This year is a Leap Year, when the short month of February has 29 days instead of the usual 28. Earth’s actual orbit around the Sun takes about one-quarter of a day […]
Have you ever looked up at the night sky and wondered if a particularly bright star was actually a planet? It can be tricky business, but with some helpful tools to equip you, you’ll be identifying planets in no time! Follow this guide to figure out if what you’re looking at is a planet or […]
Happy New Year! Though you likely won’t be able to tell the difference, Earth is at its closest to the Sun for the year this month, January 2020. Perihelion, the point in Earth’s annual orbit where it’s closest to the Sun, occurs each year in early January. This year, perihelion occurs at 1:48 a.m. Chicago time on […]
Header Image: Graphic representation of the Winter Solstice which will occur on December 21st, 2019 at 10:19pm. The brightest planet, Venus, begins a run of many weeks’ worth of spectacular viewing in the evening skies this month, December 2019. Venus starts off the month very low in the southwest after sunset, setting only about 90 […]
Header Image: Early artistic representation of a part of the Adler Planetarium’s new exhibit, Chicago’s Night Sky. If you traveled to a dark-sky park on a clear night to do some stargazing, you’d probably be able to see around 4,500 stars with your naked eye. On a clear night in Chicago, that number is more […]
Header Image: Graphic representation of the Leonid meteor shower with the constellation Leo. Evenings in the Chicago area are getting dark quite early this month, November 2019. Because Daylight Saving Time ended on the 3rd, the Sun now sets before 5:00 p.m. local time. It won’t be setting after 5:00 p.m. until late January. Shortly […]
The Atwood Sphere is the oldest sky simulator in the world still operating. Explore its unique history and how it came to call the Adler Planetarium home!
Every summer, Michelle Larson, President and CEO of the Adler Planetarium, loves to attend a star party (or two!) with her family. Star parties are one of those scenarios where groups of people get together and camp out in a place where the night sky is highly visible. People bring tents, blankets, hot chocolate… and […]
Learn about what’s in the sky for the month of September 2019 from the Chicago area.
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