Sky Observers Hangout

Learn how to observe upcoming cosmic happenings, enhance your astrophotography skills and see celestial objects through a telescope virtually with our astronomy educators.

When you look up at the sky, what do you see? In our YouTube live series, Sky Observers Hangout, our Director of Public Observing Michelle Nichols and Astronomy Educator Hunter Miller talk about what it means to observe something in the sky—and shows 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.

Upcoming Episodes

Sky Observers Hangout: Get Ready for the Total Solar Eclipse

April 7 at 8:00 pm CST

Join us on April 7, 2024 for 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, as we prepare for a total solar eclipse that will cross North America on April 8. Adler’s 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!

Learn From Our Astronomy Educators

Watch exclusive live episodes of Sky Observers Hangout throughout the year by signing up for our monthly events newsletter to stay in the loop or subscribe to our YouTube channel. Catch up on previous episodes by watching our Sky Observers Hangout playlist!


Do I need anything special to watch Sky Observers Hangout online?

No tickets or reservations are required to attend Sky Observers Hangout—it’s free and open to everyone. All you need is an internet connection and access to YouTube!

I think the Adler is doing a great job and I want to support your efforts with a donation. Where can I do that?

We would be grateful if you donated to the Adler—no donation amount is too small! Donations allow us to make programs like Sky Observers Hangout possible. Donate here!

What kind of telescopes do you recommend?

We love this question so much, we wrote a blog article about it. Check it out!

Can I interact with Adler staff during Sky Observers Hangout?

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.

I asked a question during the show. Why didn’t someone answer it?

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, 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.

Where is the best place for me to go stargazing near Chicago? Can you recommend any dark sky locations?

This blog, Adler Sky Observing: Where To Go, is a great reference for potential sky observing locations near Chicago, State Parks, the Illinois Dark Sky Park, and more!

Note: the information listed in this blog is subject to change without prior notice, so check with relevant local authorities regarding any required fees, overnight use, availability, etc. Practice safe sky observing at all times. Beware of any ground obstructions or other hazards in any location. Follow all national, state, and local laws, rules, and regulations. Stay off of private property unless you have the property owner’s expressed permission. The Adler Planetarium assumes no responsibility or liability for any injuries or damage sustained during any activities at any of these locations or events.

How do I know if I am looking at a planet or a star in the sky?

Short answer: stars (usually) twinkle and planets (usually) don’t. The EarthSky website has a great page explaining the details of this phenomenon.

Can you recommend any stargazing apps?

Adler staff use quite a range of apps, and we each have our individual preferences. Some apps we use include Sky Safari, Stellarium, Starry Night, and Night Sky (available on iOS only).

Thanks To Our Sponsors

The Adler Planetarium is grateful to the Founding Donor of our public observing programs, The Petrovich Family.


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