Eclipse Encounter ’24

A solar eclipse viewer that says "#EquippedToEclipse" being held up by a hand in front of the Adler Planetarium

Eclipse obsessed? Your time to soak up the Moon’s shadow is fast approaching, eclipse chasers!

Celebrate the Great North American Eclipse this spring at the Adler Planetarium! On April 8, 2024, everyone’s favorite star (the Sun) and our rocky celestial neighbor (the Moon) are lining up to give us an opportunity to see a partial solar eclipse from Chicago.

During our free outdoor Eclipse Encounter ’24 event, we’ll have activities around the outside of the planetarium where attendees will be encouraged to walk around, hang out, and observe the sky while the eclipse is happening. Tickets are not required for this free outdoor (weather dependent) event.

All tickets for Museum Entry to go inside the planetarium must be bought online, in advance of your visit and all sales are final.

Eclipse Encounter ’24 Activities

Solar telescope observing at the Adler Planetarium with our astronomy educator.
Image Caption: Solar telescope observing at the Adler Planetarium with our astronomy educator.

Free Outdoor Activities

  • Safe solar viewing through telescopes on the Telescope Terrace.
  • Telescopes for solar projection and eclipse photography.
  • Free solar viewer giveaways (while supplies last).
  • Photo opportunities with Big Solar Eclipse glasses.

Solar Eclipse Indoor Activities And Experiences (With Museum Entry)

  • Discover the magnificence of a solar eclipse in our newest temporary exhibit, Chasing Eclipses, where you can learn how people have predicted eclipses.
  • Tap into your creative side and make your own eclipse with pastels in the Star Studio and explore light and shadow play in our Playlab. 
  • Experience eclipse history first-hand by examining tools of prediction—like an orrery or tarot cards—with our educators in the Stargazers Hub exhibit.
  • Stock up on eclipse merch like the 2024 Eclipse US Tour Shirt, a cosmic eclipse water bottle, and more through our Space Shop.

To stay up-to-date with all things solar eclipse, be sure to sign up for our emails or update your email preferences and select “Eclipses across Illinois + Solar Eclipse Info.”

Important Solar Eclipse Information You Need To Know

The partial solar eclipse will occur from 12:51 pm–3:22 pm CT. It is at its maximum coverage—when 94% of the Sun will be covered by the Moon as seen from Chicago—at 2:07 pm CT. This solar eclipse will be seen across Illinois and much of the United States.

A solar eclipse occurs when the Sun, the Moon, and Earth line up, and the Moon (which is between the Sun and Earth) temporarily blocks the Sun’s light. The kind of eclipse you see from your location depends on the Moon’s orbital path across Earth’s surface and how far away the Moon is from Earth and from the Sun.

There are three different types of solar eclipses: partial, total, and annular. A partial solar eclipse is when the Moon partly covers the Sun—it usually looks like a bite has been taken out of it! A total solar eclipse is when the Moon totally covers the Sun. An annular solar eclipse happens when the Moon appears a little smaller in the sky than the Sun, so it cannot fully block the Sun’s rays. During an annular eclipse, you’ll see a bright ring around the edges of the Moon with the Sun peeking out from behind it.

The solar eclipse on April 8, 2024, will be either an partial or total solar eclipse depending on your location.

Get The Tips You Need To Watch The Total Solar Eclipse From Wherever You Are

Can’t join us in person? No sweat! Learn how to see the solar eclipse from wherever you are by watching this very special episode of Sky Observers Hangout. Broadcast in front of a live audience from the steps of Shryock Auditorium at Southern Illinois University on April 7, Adler astronomy educators Michelle and Hunter will ensure that you’re fully equipped to observe the eclipse yourself, but they won’t be alone! Special guests from SIU and NASA Edge will join them on-stream, so come with all your eclipse questions in the chat!

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