Eclipse over Chicago draws thousands to see peak coverage live at Adler, Pullman Park

ByCheryl Scott, Tre Ward, and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Tuesday, April 9, 2024
The Adler Planetarium held a special viewing party and outdoor festival for the partial solar eclipse in Chicago.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago may not have gotten totality, but thousands flocked to the Adler, the lakefront, and just the streets and parks to see Monday's solar eclipse.

The Adler Planetarium held a special viewing party and outdoor festival for the event. Telescopes were set up around museum grounds with special lenses, so people could see the eclipse for themselves.

The Pullman National Historical Park was also filled with excitement, as eyes turned to the skies.

WATCH: Full eclipse coverage from the path of totality in Southern Illinois and Indiana

Solar eclipse appears in skies above Illinois, Indiana (1 of 15)

Scientists said this year's solar eclipse was more visible than the last one in 2017. Back then, there was only 87% coverage. This year, Chicago saw 94% coverage at the maximum.

"I'm a resident here in Pullman, so I was right here in the neighborhood, and we didn't have a place to gather as a community then for the event, which is what inspired us to put this together," said Park ranger Lisa Burback.

Thousands gathered at the Adler Planetarium Monday for the solar eclipse and their Eclipse Encounter '24 event.

At the Adler, while the effects of the eclipse were not as dramatic as in the path of totality, they were still easily noticeable. The sky dimmed, the temperature dropped and shadows grew long and eerie.

READ MORE: Illinois, Indiana see total solar eclipse

"Just being there and seeing it and seeing it with the glasses, it was definitely amazing," said Makeisha Williams-Thomspon.

"It was such a great event of people coming together and cheering when it was the eclipse," said Tina Heise.

"We had to do this. You know, the next one's going to be in what, in 20 years? So yeah, I mean we had to come out," said Angel Mazariegos.

The weather was perfect for eclipse viewing and one attendee, the daughter of our late friend and colleague Jerry Taft, thought her dad might have had a little something to do with that.

"It's been great to just have this beautiful day. I really think we can thank him for this amazing day," Skylar Taft said.

Some people took the day off work or school to get a glimpse of the rare phenomenon.

"I mean it's a once in a, one in a very blue moon opportunity to check out something cool," said Hiran Harris.

His daughter Kyoko is ready to tell her classmates all about it.

"I'm going to be like, 'Ha ha, you had to see it on TV. I got to see it in real life. Ha ha,'" she said.

At Pullman National Historic Park, families came out with their lawn chairs and their solar glasses for the experience.

"I definitely think it's super special," said Xamiya Walton, "especially since the next one isn't supposed to happen for 60 or so years, so I'm happy to experience it."

"It's just really nice to have a community, just seeing kids playing, families being here together," said Elise Kemp Frand.

"It's just amazing to see the moon passing the sun like that," said Gregory Ford. "It's unbelievable."

South Siders headed over to the Pullman Naitonal Historical Park's 'A Partial Eclipse at the Park' event to see the increidble celestial show Monday afternoon.

More than 200 spectators flocked to the park to watch the celestial phenomenon as part of a community event partially organized by NASA.

"It's the best show in the universe right now," said Mark Benson, NASA ambassador. "But we know it happens here, today, in the Chicago area."

"We thought, what better way to bring the community together for this eclipse than to have everybody together with some park rangers and a NASA ambassador?" Burback said. "We're just really, really pleased."

There was also a question and answer session with Benson as an educational opportunity at the event.

The park is already looking ahead for the next partial eclipse to do it all again.