The sun going dark, well darker, at 1:19 in the afternoon in Oak Park and River Forest sounds like a sci-fi doomsday scenario, but it's nothing to worry about — just an event that hasn't occurred here in 23 years — a near total solar eclipse (87 percent coverage), according to the Adler Planetarium. On Monday, Aug. 21, starting at 11:54 a.m., the moon will begin to block the sun, ending at 2:42 p.m.
To learn about eclipses, Cernan Earth and Space Center at Triton College in River Grove is showing "Totality: Explore the Wonder of Eclipses" in their Dome Theater all week. From lunar to total solar eclipses, it explains how and why they occur, what happens when they do and how a past total solar eclipse proved general relativity. Show times: triton.edu/cernan/schedule/, $8, adults; $4, children, students, and seniors 55+. Questions: 708-456-0300, x3372, or email@example.com. 1736 5th Ave.
For the most comprehensive offering in the area for all ages, Cernan Center has both indoor and outdoor viewing during the eclipse at a free event. Stay outdoors for some indirect viewing methods, such as pinhole projection, a sunspotter folded telescope, or a reflecting telescope with solar filter, weather permitting. Or take a seat inside the Dome to view a live stream to see a total eclipse, which will occur in a band across the U.S. In Illinois, the best viewing is in the Carbondale area.
The Oak Park Public Library is throwing an Eclipse Viewing Party in Scoville Park, Lake Street and Oak Park Avenue, where participants can make pinhole projectors, try making s'mores in a solar oven with park district staff, listen to live music from School of Rock, and more. Hundreds of eclipse safe-viewing glasses are being handed out at the party. Drop by from 11:54 to 2:42. If rain or clouds move in, a live-stream of the eclipse as it progresses across the country will be shown in the Main Library Veterans Room. Afterwards, families are invited to a Smarty Pants Space Odyssey Balloon Magic Show from 3 to 4 p.m.; registration required: oppl.org. 834 Lake St.
For the younger set, Wonder Works, a museum geared to children from birth to age 8, invites families starting at 10 a.m. to make a viewing station, then to head outside when the eclipse begins. Covered by general admission, $7. Info: wonder-works.org, 708-383-4815. 6445 W. North Ave., Oak Park.
Prefer to view on your own? The Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio will have eclipse glasses available, compliments of the Adler Planetarium, on Aug. 21, beginning at 9 a.m., 951 Chicago Ave., Oak Park.
In River Forest, Trailside Museum of Natural History will have a telescope set up with a special filter for eclipse viewing from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. 738 Thatcher Ave.
See Ken Trainor's reminiscence about the 1994 near-total eclipse here.
Answer Book 2017
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