Are you #EquippedToEclipse?

Get Equipped to Eclipse: Safe Solar Viewing

On August 21, 2017, at 11:54 am, the Moon will start to block Chicago’s view of the Sun, eventually covering 87%, and creating something spectacular—a solar eclipse. Will you be ready?

The last time Chicago was this close to the path of totality (100% blockage of the Sun) for a total solar eclipse was in 1925—92 years ago!

If you plan on looking up—and we hope you do!—you’ll need to make sure you’re prepared with the proper gear. Regular sunglasses are NOT safe for viewing an eclipse, no matter what you may have heard!

We’ve put together a quick list of safe solar-viewing techniques. You can also check out the American Astronomical Society’s website for important eye safety information.

Phases of an Eclipse

Eclipse Glasses

Did you know there are glasses that are made especially for solar-viewing? These are glasses that contain special material that prevent harmful amounts of light from reaching your eye. The result is a dark view of the sky, but a safe view of the Sun.

Paper and Pin Projector

If the light from the Sun passes through a tiny hole poked into a thin sheet of paper, cardboard, or aluminum foil, the pinhole will project an image of the eclipse onto a paper screen! You can also spell out a word or a date or create a smiley face with an array of holes that all project onto a white sheet.

These types of “pinhole” projectors can be made with things like a box, a tube, index cards, or paper plates! Just remember: never, ever look THROUGH the holes. Always project onto the ground, a wall, or a screen.


Anything with holes in it will project images of the eclipse as it is happening! Look at the dappled light on the ground as you make crosshatches with your fingers or hold up a spaghetti colander to project many eclipse views onto the sidewalk.

Remember, don’t look directly at the Sun with these tools. Let the light project images onto the ground.


Yes, even the tiny holes in crackers are perfect for eclipse viewing! Just like a colander, you can use the holes of the cracker to project an image of the eclipse onto the ground, sheet, or screen. Try using various types of crackers with different sized holes… the perfect edible eclipse image viewing tool. Yum!

Welder's Glass

Welder’s glass is a way to view the eclipse directly, rather than as a projection.

IMPORTANT: Be sure that the welder’s glass is rated as number 14! Make sure it says number 14 on the glass itself. Otherwise, don’t use it! (Numbers 12 and 13 are technically safe, but the Sun may be uncomfortably bright and difficult to look at.)

Tree Leaf Shadows

You can even view the eclipse using the leaves of the trees in your yard! As the light from the Sun streams through the little spaces around and in the tree’s leaves, you can see the shape of the eclipse projected onto the ground below–hundreds or thousands of little eclipse images!

Raid Your Junk Drawer

Don’t have a any of these objects laying around? What about a slotted spoon? Raid your junk drawer or house for anything with a little hole: pegboard from your garage, sports equipment, etc. See what you can use to project images of the Sun!


How Will You Stay Safe?

Show us how you’re getting #EquippedToEclipse on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

Where can I get solar eclipse glasses?

At Adler Planetarium

Solar eclipse glasses are no longer available with the purchase of Adler admission. To grab a pair, join us at the Adler on August 21 for Chicago’s Eclipse Fest, or at our satellite viewing party at Daley Plaza(While supplies last.) We hope you #LookUp with us!

From An Adler Brand Ambassador

As of 11:30 am, more than 1,500 people had lined up outside Lagunitas Brewing Company to get #EquippedtoEclipse! Because our offer of eclipse glasses was limited to the first 500 guests, we have opted to distribute the glasses early.

Glasses are no longer available at Lagunitas, but if you didn’t snag a pair, don’t worry! We’ll have a limited number of pairs available on Monday, and there are many other ways you can enjoy the eclipse with us. We hope to see you on Monday for Chicago’s Eclipse Fest!

At Suburban Library Branches

Several public libraries and library districts in the Chicago suburbs will be handing out eclipse glasses. Inquire with your local public library about availability. Many, but not all, of these libraries are shown on this map.

At Organizations Throughout Chicagoland

Below is a list of other organizations handing out Adler Planetarium’s solar viewing glasses, while supplies last. Each organization has created their own schedules for distribution. Please check with the organizations directly to inquire about distribution.

Important Information About Where to Purchase Glasses

A list of reputable vendors is available from the American Astronomical Society. Note that counterfeit glasses are coming in from other countries and have been on sale for some time. Just looking for the ISO certification printed on the glasses is NOT a way to tell if glasses are safe, as any vendor can print ISO certification information on their glasses. The only way to be sure your glasses are safe is to get them from the Adler Planetarium, one of our partners, and/or purchase from one of the vendors identified on the AAS web page listed above.

Build Your Own DIY Shoebox Sun Projector

Shoebox Sun ProjectorMake your own shoebox sun projector at home to enjoy August’s solar eclipse! You’ll need:

White Paper
Aluminum Foil
Push Pins

Once you’re done, snap a photo and upload it to Instagram with the hashtag #EquippedToEclipse!

Get #EquippedToEclipse and Enter for a Chance to Win an Adler Membership!

#EquippedToEclipse Solar Viewing GlassesIn celebration of the eclipse, the Adler has oversized eclipse glasses traveling around the city to help get Chicagoans #EquippedToEclipse! Snap a photo of all three glasses and upload to Instagram for your chance to win.