Where to watch the solar eclipse in Chicago – Consumer News

on Aug2

1 August 2017 | 5:19 pm

On Monday, Aug. 21, Chicago skies will become center stage to a most dramatic heavenly event. For about three hours, beginning at 11:54 a.m., the moon will begin to block the sun. At about 1:18 p.m., the time of Chicago’s greatest eclipse totality, approximately 90% of the sun will be obscured by the moon, with only a small sliver of the sun’s glow visible. The moon then will slowly continue on its path with Chicago’s eclipse ending at about 2:42 p.m.

This rare natural wonder has inspired excitement with good reason: Chicago hasn’t been this close a total solar eclipse since 1806, and hasn’t had a partial solar eclipse in 38 years since 1979. What’s more, NASA predicts that Chicago won’t see a complete 100 percent eclipse until 2099.

Undoubtedly, the best places to view the upcoming important eclipse are in the complete paths of totality. The closest to Chicago is Southern Illinois, with a huge celebration planned in Carbondale. Not up for traveling downstate? You still can view first-hand this unique celestial occurrence with a little advanced planning and key information.

You won’t be able to see the solar eclipse simply by looking out your office window. You’ll need to go outdoors or on a rooftop with a clear view of the high south sky without building and tree obstructions, advises Michelle Nichols, master educator of the Adler Planetarium.

“The sun will be visible fairly high in the southeast sky at the eclipse’s start, fairly high in the south sky around 1 p.m., and fairly high in the southwest sky at the end. It will not be directly overhead at any point,” she says.

The biggest public eclipse viewing party will be Solar Eclipse Fest at the Adler Planetarium, where 10,000 (or more) enthusiasts and Adler experts are expected to congregate. (The Adler’s “Chasing Eclipses” exhibit runs until Jan. 8, 2018; a pre-eclipse event is sold out.)

The Adler will also hold a satellite eclipse viewing party at Daley Plaza in the Loop, which includes free solar eclipse glasses and telescope viewing. A complete list of libraries holding eclipse viewing events is here.

While it’s likely that sky-gawking crowds also may fill Navy Pier, lakefront beaches and parks, rooftop bars and restaurants are also good choices. Trouble is, many rooftop bars don’t open til later in the day or are closed on Mondays. We found a few that will be open.

​ I|O Godfrey’s retractable glass roof allows for clear views of the southern sky. The first 100 people in the door of this 4th-floor River North bar will receive free eclipse-viewing eyewear (doors open at 11 a.m.) Groups may RSVP to Eclipse@godfreyhotelchicago.com to reserve a table.

Cindy’s at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel has an open-air terrace with panoramic views of Millennium Park and Lake Michigan, making it a fantastic eclipse-watching spot. In late May Cindy’s opened a new bar on the terrace. The lunch menu includes Parisienne gnocchi with tomato jam or a lobster roll with preserved lemon.

Rooftop at Torali on the 12th floor of the Ritz-Carlton Chicago will be an “excellent place to watch the eclipse,” says Jill Torke, director of sales and marketing. Food and drink service not offered until 3 p.m.

Here are other special events requiring advanced reservations:

Solar Eclipse Celebration in Evanston. Arrington Lagoon Picnic Shelter at Dawes Park. This public viewing event includes admission, a catered lunch and more. Purchase tickets online by Aug. 20.

Two Aug. 21st solar eclipse boat excursions on Lake Michigan require reservations:

Seadog: Solar Eclipse Viewing Lakefront Speedboat Ride. 1 p.m.-1:45 p.m. Adults from $36.95; children from $21.95. Glasses included.

Mystic Blue: Blue Moon Solar Eclipse Viewing Boathouse Cruise. 12 p.m. –2 p.m. Adults from $32.90. Glasses included.

Or charter your own yacht, boat or helicopter. Try the Advantaged, ​ Chicago’s First Lady Cruises, Chicago Yacht Odyssey Cruises, Chicago Sailboat Charters, Chicago Helicopter Experience or Veriport Chicago VIP Helicopter Tours.

Wherever you view, you’ll want to wear certified solar viewing glasses to avoid potential eye harm gazing at the sun. You can buy them online from the Adler Planetarium or Rainbow Symphony.

Now, let’s all pray for a clear day.

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