Sky Observers Hangout
When you look up, what do you see?
In this virtual series, our Director of Public Observing Michelle Nichols and Astronomy Educator Adriana Guzman Diaz talk about what it means to observe something in the sky—and show viewers how to do it themselves!
Participants will learn how to use everyday objects to observe the Sun, the Moon, and other celestial objects; try their hand at skills such as nighttime sky photography; see whatever is visible in the sky over their neighborhoods; and find out how to use what they’ve learned to view upcoming cosmic happenings.
No tickets or reservations required to attend Sky Observers Hangout—it’s free and open to everyone! All you need is an internet connection and access to YouTube!
2021 Schedule and Topics
For each episode, descriptions, YouTube links, and “Add to Calendar” options will be added a minimum of two weeks before the event. Keep an eye on this page for updates!
December 7, 2021 @ 5:00 am
Comets are cool. Well, to be specific, comets are COLD—and they are made up of material left over from the formation of our solar system. Comet Leonard, discovered in early 2021, is approaching, and it should be well within the brightness range of our Doane Observatory telescope. Our astronomy educators will broadcast live from the Adler Planetarium’s Doane Observatory to answer your questions about comets, explain what comets are, highlight where in the sky Comet Leonard, a.k.a. C/2021 A1, will be visible, and show you where to point a telescope to see it. If the clouds cooperate, we might even broadcast a live telescope view of the comet from our Doane Observatory!
A special thank you to the Founding Donor of our public observing programs, The Petrovich Family
Frequently Asked Questions
Nope! All you need is an internet connection and access to YouTube!
We would be grateful if you donated to the Adler! Donations allow us to bring programs like Sky Observers Hangout to our audiences while the museum is closed to the public. No donation amount is too small. Donate here!
We love this question so much, we wrote a blog article about it. Check it out!
Our shows are approximately every other Monday evening at 7:00 pm CT, but our schedule can vary from time to time if there is something interesting in the sky on another day or at a different time. Please check the upcoming program schedule on this page for details. We also will take a break from shows in the summer to work on new episodes.
Yes! If you are watching us when we’re live on YouTube, send us a message in the chat window. We can see your questions as they scroll by, and we’ll attempt to answer as many of them as we can during the show.
We will try to answer as many questions as we can during the show, but if the volume of messages and questions is too high, we may not be able to get to everyone’s question or comment.
If we didn’t answer your question, you can always message us after the show and we’d be happy to respond after the program. Email us at email@example.com, or send us a message via social media using the hashtag #LookUp and let us know which show name and air date you are asking about. Depending on the volume of messages, it may take us a few days to respond with an answer.
Yes! Email your question to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or send us a message via social media using the hashtag #LookUp and let us know which show name and air date you are asking about. Depending on the volume of messages, it may take us a few days to respond.
The best way to get notified about an event is to subscribe to our YouTube channel!
Yes! We would love to hear your ideas. Email us at email@example.com or send us a message via social media using the hashtag #LookUp.
Our show topics generally center around observing the daytime or nighttime sky with your eyes, with a camera, or with a telescope. For topics like the big bang or black holes (things you can’t see through a backyard telescope), check out another one of our online programs Adler Astronomy Live!
During the covid-19 pandemic, we unfortunately cannot recommend places to gather. Many parks and other locales have changed their open/close times and some locations may not currently be open, and it is impossible for us to keep up with the access changes. Please check with individual municipalities, park districts, and other agencies for the most up to date nighttime accessibility information.
There are dark sky parks, reserves, and sanctuaries all over the world that are designated by the International Dark Sky Association. Check the IDA website for the most current list. As of mid-2020, the dark sky park in Illinois is the Middle Fork River Forest Preserve near Champaign, IL. Refer to the park’s website for current access information.
Short answer: stars (usually) twinkle and planets (usually) don’t. The EarthSky website has a great page explaining the details of this phenomenon.
We may use the Observatory for future shows, but unfortunately, we cannot open the Observatory to general public visits at this time. Restrictions on gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic mean that the capacity of the telescope room in our Observatory is limited to two people at a time maximum.
After the Adler Planetarium has reopened to the public and it is safe for more people to gather, we’ll start using our Observatory for in-person general public events again. Trust us—we want to see you in person as much as you want to see us in person! For now, stay home and stay safe, and we will bring the Observatory to you during Sky Observers Hangout.
Your all-access pass to our universe!