At 11:54 a.m. on Monday, the moon will begin crossing in front of the sun for what will be the first partial solar eclipse visible from Chicago in nearly 17 years, according to the Adler Planetarium, NASA and various news outlets.
On Christmas Day in 2000, the moon blocked about 55 percent of the sun. But this time around, the sun will be as much as 87 percent obscured in Chicago, with that moment coming at 1:19 p.m.
The “path of totality,” in which the moon fully blocks the sun, includes Southern Illinois, namely the Carbondale area, which will experience about 2 minutes and 4o seconds of total darkness.
A few tips for viewing the eclipse:
- If you don’t have protective glasses, create a pinhole projection. It’s simple: let sunlight pass through a hole punched in an index card or aluminum foil and look at the crescent-shaped shadow this creates. You aren’t looking into the light, so your eyes are protected.
- The eclipse could mostly be “a washout” if the weather is already overcast, as it will block the crescent from view, said Geza Gyuk, an Adler Planetarium astronomer. But he also said to still be alert if this happens, because the sun could peek out at anytime.
- Gyuk said the eclipse will look the same in all parts of the city, so just pick a spot you enjoy — or attend one of these viewing parties listed below.
- The Adler Planetarium will host Chicago’s Eclipse Fest. The block party will be held on museum grounds and will be free to the public. You can pick up a complimentary pair of eclipse-viewing glasses, check out live entertainment and free exhibits such as “Chasing Eclipses.”
- Stop by the Chicago Botanic Garden with the kids for a family-friendly viewing event. The garden will hand out one free pair of viewing glasses per family, starting at 10 a.m on Aug. 21 on the Esplanade. Pinhole projectors will also be available.
- View the partial eclipse of the sun from 94 floors up in the sky on the John Hancock Observation Deck. 360 CHICAGO’S Solar Eclipse Dance Party kicks off at 11 a.m. As the city turns dark, you can dance to a space-themed playlist. Tickets are $8 in advance. At the door; tickets are $10.25 for adults; $6.75 for children ages 3-11 and free for children under 3. Admission includes one pair of viewing glasses.
- Chicago Public Library: To view the eclipse through a telescope, attend a “Great Solar Eclipse Observation Event” at libraries including Wrightwood-Ashburn, Richard M. Daley in Humboldt Park, Chinatown, North Austin or Sulzer Regional. Other select branches will feature viewing parties. CPL has given out over 10,000 viewing glasses thus far, but has held some to give out at viewing parties, said spokesperson Patrick Molloy. For a full list of libraries with viewing parties, along with scheduling information, check out CPL’s website.