Tips for Viewing the Weekend’s Lunar Eclipse: No. 1 — Watch the Forecast

A total lunar eclipse, seen from Joshua Tree National Park in 2015. (Brad Sutton / National Park Service)A total lunar eclipse, seen from Joshua Tree National Park in 2015. (Brad Sutton / National Park Service)

What Mother Nature giveth, Mother Nature can also taketh.

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For once, all of the stars (pardon the pun) are aligning for Chicagoans to enjoy a celestial show: The Midwest is in prime viewing territory for Sunday night’s highly anticipated total lunar eclipse; no special equipment is needed to watch the event; and the eclipse is taking place at a relatively decent hour when plenty of folks might actually be awake.

The lone hitch: the weather.

After a string of clear, sunny days, rain and clouds are expected to move in for the weekend. Depending on the extent of the cloud cover, the eclipse could still deliver an “ooh-aah” moment, or it could be a womp-womp for Chicago.

So the No. 1 tip for viewing the eclipse is: Check the forecast.

If the skies are favorable, here’s how to take full advantage of the astronomical opportunity.


— 9:27 p.m., the partial eclipse will be apparent

— 10:29 p.m., the total eclipse begins

— 11:11 p.m., peak total eclipse

— 11:53 p.m., the total eclipse ends

— 12:55 a.m., May 16, the partial eclipse ends

How to view

— Look to the southeast. See the chart below, provided by the Adler Planetarium.

— Find a location where the sky isn’t blocked by buildings, trees or other obstructions.

Eclipse events (all weather permitting)

— Northwestern University astronomers are hosting an event, open to the public, 9-11:45 p.m. Click here for details.

— Indiana Dunes State Park is throwing a family-friendly eclipse party, 9:30 p.m. to midnight. Click here for details.

— The Forest Preserve District of Cook County is keeping the Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center open late for the eclipse, 9:30-11:59 p.m. Click here for details, including how to register.

— Joe Guzman, the Chicago Astronomer, will set up along Solidarity Drive on the Chicago lakefront’s Museum Campus, beginning at 8 p.m. Look for the group with telescopes on the sidewalk near the Adler Planetarium (not affiliated with the Adler’s sold-out ticketed event). Check out Guzman’s description of the upcoming eclipse, and follow the Chicago Astronomer on Facebook for updates in case of cancellation.  

— The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County is welcoming skywatchers to the Greene Valley scenic overlook, where members of the Naperville Astronomical Association will be on hand to share insights and their telescopes. The gates open at 8 p.m. and while no one will be admitted after 11 p.m., viewing will continue until 1 a.m. Click here for details.    

Contact Patty Wetli: @pattywetli | (773) 509-5623 |  [email protected]

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