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’Scopes in the City

Look up at the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, and even the Sun during free telescope observing events across Chicago.

Our ‘Scopes in the City astronomy educators and volunteers bring the museum—and the universe—a little closer to you! These free telescope observing programs at local libraries, restaurants, bars, and parks allow us bring our telescopes used for observing the night and daytime sky across many Chicago neighborhoods.

Upcoming 'Scopes In The City Events

June 13, 2024 @ Indian Prairie Public Library

6:30 pm–8:30 pm
401 Plainfield Road
Darien, IL 60561

What will we be observing? The Moon.

June 15, 2024 @ Archer Heights Branch Chicago Public Library

10:00 am–12:00 pm
5055 S Archer Ave
Chicago, IL 60632

What will we be observing? The Sun.

June 25, 2024 @ Bloomingdale Public Library

1:00 pm–3:00 pm
101 Fairfield Way
Bloomingdale, IL 60108

What will we be observing? The Sun.

July 15, 2024 @ Algonquin Public Library

5:00 pm–7:00 pm
2600 Harnish Drive
Algonquin, IL 60102

What will we be observing? The Sun and the Moon.

August 25, 2024 @ Budlong Woods Branch Chicago Public Library

2:00 pm–4:00 pm
5630 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60659

What will we be observing? The Sun.

November 11, 2024 @ Humboldt Park Branch Chicago Public Library

5:30 pm–7:30 pm
1605 N Troy St.
Chicago, IL 60647

What will we be observing? The Moon and Saturn.

November 12, 2024 @ Elmwood Park Public Library

6:00 pm–8:00 pm
1 Conti Pkwy
Elmwood Park, IL 60707

What will we be observing? The Moon and Saturn.

All ’Scopes in the City events are free and weather permitting, so get updates about upcoming sky observing opportunities by subscribing to our Adler Events (Digital and In Person) or Night Sky Observing email lists or by joining our ‘Scopes with the Adler Facebook group.

An attendee looking through a telescope during a ‘Scopes In The City neighborhood event with the Adler Planetarium.
Image Caption: An attendee looking through a telescope during a ‘Scopes in the City neighborhood event with the Adler Planetarium in 2018.

Where We've Been | 2015–Now

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?

Every Scopes in the City event is free—there is no cost to the host or participants.

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 only 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. 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. The program is not available for private (non-public) events. If you have a location suggestion, please fill out this form. We generally schedule 25-40 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.

Thanks To Our Sponsors

A special thank you to the Founding Donor of our public observing programs, The Petrovich Family


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