Adler Planetarium finally getting new roof

The 81-year-old copper dome leaks is being replaced along with the other roofing structures covering the main building.

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Scaffolding covers the Adler Planetarium, as workers prepare to install a new roof.

The Adler Planetarium

If you’ve noticed the Adler Planetarium smothered in scaffolding, don’t be alarmed — it isn’t being torn down or converted into condos.

The 81-year-old copper dome is being replaced, along with the other roofing structures covering the main building, said Jennifer Howell, the institution’s spokeswoman.

The Adler roof, as you might expect after so long, leaks.

“There are a lot of delicate equipment and artifacts underneath the dome and surrounding areas, so Adler management decided to move forward with the project,” Howell said.

The work was supposed to begin in March 2020 but then the pandemic came along and shut down everything, Howell said.

“The old copper tiles will be removed and replaced with new, 20-ounce copper tiles,” Howell said. “When completed, the dome will have a rich copper color which will last approximately six months and then begin to transform in color.”

The dome part of the project is expected to be completed in September, with the remainder of the work to be finished a month or so later. The cost of the roof project wasn’t immediately available.

Meanwhile, the Adler is set to partially reopen July 3 with dome skyshows on Saturdays and Sundays in July and August. “Imagine the Moon” and “Skywatch” will each play twice daily in the Grainger Sky Theater. Tickets are $15 per person. The shows will be free for Illinois residents [with proof of residency] for the first three weekends.

To learn more and to get tickets, go to

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