CHICAGO — The big solar eclipse is happening nationwide Monday.
Here's what you need to know about viewing it in Chicago.
What is it?
For a few hours on Monday, the moon will pass between the Earth and the sun.
The eclipse will totally cover the sun in parts of the country from Oregon to South Carolina. The closest places to Chicago to see that are near St. Louis and Downstate Illinois, particularly Carbondale.
The eclipse in Chicago will be a little less noticeable. With the eclipse starting at 11:54 a.m., it will peak just before 1:20 p.m. when the moon will cover 86.6 percent of the sun. The sun will look like a rotated crescent standing up on its points. By 2:42 p.m., the eclipse will be over, and the sky will go back to normal.
Here's an approximate look of what it would look like from the roof of the Robey, 2018 W. North Ave., in Wicker Park:
DNAinfo/Tanveer Ali (Source: U.S. Naval Observatory data)
Will it get completely dark?
No, you'll have to drive about five hours Downstate for complete darkness.
Unless you are looking at the eclipse in Chicago, you probably won't even notice it's going on, according to Annie Vedder, the Adler Planetarium's curator of experience.
"It won't get noticeably dark here. Our sun is so bright," Vedder said. "The moon will take a little cookie bite out of the sun."
How rare is a total solar eclipse?
The last time a total solar eclipse was visible in the United States was on Feb. 26, 1979.
Chicago hasn't seen a total eclipse since June 16, 1806, according to NASA. That's 31 years before the city of Chicago even existed.
This is the biggest solar eclipse in Chicago since May 10, 1994, when the eclipse reached 88.6 percent totality during an annular eclipse, in which the moon looks smaller than the sun.
Chicago is slated to have a solar eclipse that reaches 93.8 percent totality on April 8, 2024.
In case you never want to leave Chicago, but still want to see a total solar eclipse, you'll have to wait until Sept. 14, 2099.
Where can you go in the city to see the eclipse?
Provided you have the proper glasses or other viewing equipment, you can look up toward the south anywhere with a clear view.
The Adler Planetarium is throwing a free block party, rain or shine.
Admission will be free Monday inside the Adler at 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive.
The Chicago Park District also is throwing viewing parties at 20 parks citywide from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The parks include:
• 63rd Street Beach, 6300 S. Lake Shore Drive (Woodlawn)
• Adams Playground Park, 1919 N. Seminary Road (Lincoln Park)
• Berger Park, 6205 N. Sheridan Road (Edgewater)
• Blackhawk Park, 2318 N. Lavergne Ave. (Belmont Cragin)
• Bradley Park, 9729 S. Yates Blvd. (South Deering)
• Calumet Park, 9801 S. Avenue G (East Side)
• Clarendon Park, 4501 N. Marine Drive (Clarendon Park)
• Edison Park, 6755 N. Northwest Hwy (Edison Park)
• Gompers Park, 4222 W. Foster Ave. (North Park)
• Hale Park, 6258 W. 62nd St. (Clearing)
• Hamlin Park, 3035 N. Hoyne Ave. (North Center)
• Humboldt Park Beach, 1440 N. Sacramento Ave. (Humboldt Park)
• Kelvyn Park, 4343 W. Wrightwood Ave. (Hermosa)
• Kilbourn Park, 3501 N. Kilbourn Ave. (Irving Park)
• Kosciuszko Park, 2732 N. Avers Ave. (Logan Square)
• Lincoln Park Cultural Center, 2045 N. Lincoln Park West (Lincoln Park)
• Maggie Daley Park, 337 E. Randolph St. (Downtown)
• Portage Park, 4100 N. Long Ave. (Portage Park)
• Revere Park, 2509 W. Irving Park Road (North Center)
• Washington Park, 5531 S. King Drive (Washington Park)
Where can you find glasses?
Special glasses with solar filters are needed to directly look at the sun. Sunglasses won't work, according to the American Astronomical Society.
Those glasses have become hot commodities, especially since Amazon recalled glasses sold on the site that don't meet safety standards.
But, there's still hope.
Adler Planetarium employees will hand out glasses at their eclipse party at the planetarium and in Daley Plaza Monday.
What if you can't find glasses?
Make a pinhole camera. All you need is two pieces of white card stock, aluminum foil, tape and a pin or paper clip to poke a hole in the foil.
What about that weather?
Clouds are eclipse viewers' worst enemy, but as of now, the weather looks all right.
The forecast for Monday afternoon in Chicago calls for partly cloudy skies, National Weather Service meteorologist Charles Mott said. There's a 20 percent chance of rain south of Chicago.