Tag Archives: Adler Planetarium

Chicago: Adler Planetarium

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Adler Planetarium was founded in 1930 and is America’s first planetarium. Its mission is to inspire exploration and understanding of the universe.

It was a very foggy morning when I visited Adler. Just look at that skyline!

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It was sooo cold my teeth were chattering because I did not expect Chicago to be so chilly in summer and so I had just a thin cotton jacket with me. What more, just when I was about to take photos, I realized I left my memory card in my laptop when I uploaded photos the night before.  Ugh!

And so I went back to my hotel, which was a blessing in disguise because I got to bring a thicker jacket, which came in handy as I lingered outdoors to take photos of Adler’s exterior.


The sculpture (lower right photo) is called Man Enters the Cosmos by Henry Moore. It is made of bronze and is a functional bowstring equatorial sundial created in 1980 measuring approximately 13 feet.

After exchanging my CityPass for tickets, I started exploring Adler Planetarium.


Clark Family Welcome Gallery

This exhibition features one-of-a-kind architecture with colorful lighting.


My favorite part? Its being an interactive exhibit, which allows visitors to explore space in different ways. Here’s a collage of me taking photos of and moving planets around.


It’s all possible because of infrared sensors. Cool, huh.

Shoot for the Moon
This exhibit shares the story of America’s first journey into space in the 1960s as told by Jim Lovell, a former NASA astronaut most famous for being the commander of the Apollo 13 Mission.


I was struck by his quote about the earth being a grand oasis in the vastness of space, and the part of me who, when traveling, finds joy in visiting a city’s tallest structure and looking down on the cityscape below, wished that someday, I will also get to see the world from space.

The exhibit also traces the history of the Gemini program and the hugely successful Apollo missions, which saw America reach its goal of landing man on the Moon.


But Shoot for the Moon’s coolest feature would have been the Moon Wall, which lets visitors explore the surface of the moon using the latest images from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) currently orbiting the moon.


Our Solar System
An exhibit featuring planets, moons, asteroids, meteorites, and more.


Telescopes: Through the Looking Glass

Features some of the world’s most important telescopes that helped mankind discover great things about our universe.


Astronomy in Culture

This exhibit is about how ancient and medieval cultures used and studied astronomy.


Isn’t it amazing to gaze at paraphernalia from ancient times? I even found a pillar sundial from 1580!

Historic Atwood Sphere
This experience is of seeing the night sky over Chicago as it appeared in 1913. The Atwood Sphere is Chicago’s first planetarium and when I was there last year, it was celebrating its 100th year.


This is definitely worth queueing up for (I waited for about 30 minutes), but I do not recommend this to claustrophobic people because you have to go inside the sphere for a guided tour.

By the way, the sphere is seventeen feet in diameter and has 692 holes drilled through its metal surface. These holes allow light to enter and show the positions of the brightest stars in the night sky (the black and white photo was my view when I experienced this).

Live Discussions
Aside from exhibits, there were also actual discussions from the experts.


There were touchscreen monitors too that let guests explore the universe at their own pace.  Amazing!

More Adler Planetarium Experiences
Aside from trying out the Atwood Sphere, I also watched 3D Sun in Johnson Theater. Sadly, no photo-taking was allowed. I also took a photo of me in one of the exhibits featuring infrared lighting.


By the way, Adler Planetarium is a good vantage point when viewing Lake Michigan with the beautiful Chicago skyline as its backdrop. Just look at this panoramic shot I took before I left Adler.

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Isn’t it amazing? Not only did this panoramic shot capture Chicago’s skyline. Shedd Aquarium is also visible (far left), and so is Navy Pier (far right).

For more information about Adler Planetarium, visit www.adlerplanetarium.org.


Teaser Post about my Chicago Trip

Pardon my looong hiatus from this blog. I was again swamped with work (yeah, I know, it’s always my work). But then, it is also sometimes because of my work that I get to travel.

This month, I was sent to Chicago to attend an event. Though I was there mostly for work, I extended my stay to accommodate discovering Chicago at my own pace and for leisure.

Here are bits and pieces of what I discovered about and experienced in this interesting city.

I watched an amazing show featuring beluga whales, became fascinated with a “cloud” that looked more like a bean, got drizzled by spews of water from a gargantuan fountain, spent some “me” time just looking out the lake, captured night shots from the pier and met a T. rex named Sue.


I also went to Willis Tower (formerly Sears), which is the second tallest building in the USA and the eight tallest freestanding structure in the world. In 2009, it opened its Skydeck with all-glass boxes that allow visitors to look through the floor on the street 1,353 feet, 412 meters and 103 floors below. Whew!


I also enjoyed watching the pastel sky turn into a riotous shade of yellow-orange at the Navy Pier.


And here’s a collage of the Chicago River, the Water Tower (I was told this was the only surviving structure during the great Chicago fire of 1871, but Wikipedia disagreed), and a view of the city’s skyline as viewed from the penthouse of Lake Point Tower, which is the only skyscraper in downtown Chicago east of Lake Shore Drive.


Lastly, here is a photo of what I saw at the Adler Planetarium and of Chicago’s skyline as seen from the John Hancock Observatory. And though I was there during the summer, I did experience Chicago’s punishing cold when I ventured out early in the morning to visit the museums. Even with my jacket on, I felt chilled and couldn’t stop my teeth from chattering. And oh, I went to the Chinatown too (there is always a Chinatown somewhere!) and just can’t resist sharing what my fortune cookie foretells.


You will spend your old age in comfort and material wealth.

Now, that’s something to look forward to. Te he.

More detailed posts later. For now, I have to catch up on some work that piled up while I was away (I just dropped a note since I felt like I needed a break.)

Till next!