The Adler Planetarium has had an Observatory since the late 70’s? No way! Many people come to the Adler Planetarium without knowing that the museum has a big telescope. The reason why they don’t know or see the telescope is because its hidden behind the Adler. The Observatory was meant to be for research and not for the public. Due to the fact that Chicago has a lot of light pollution it wasn’t as good as they thought it would be for research. Later, when comet hayley passed the Adler received a donation that made the Observatory public. It’s one of the best and large public telescope in Chicago. The Observatory is just behind the Adler. Once visitors go around the building they notice this small building that looks like a tube. Some visitors think that its just an easy and better way to get a beautiful view of the lake. Most of the visitors don’t know what that is, so they decide not to go inside and just walk past it. Some visitors that get curious and they actually go inside and they start going up and around the Doane stairs they notice the door that leads to the big telescope. It’s funny how some visitors peek through the last door and then walk away. At first I thought that the mission specialists that work at the Doane were joking that the visitors would just walk away. Once I started working at the Doane I noticed that visitors actually peeked in and left. It was funny watching their reaction to what the saw inside and then leave. When they finally decide to walk all the way in they tell us that they never knew that the Adler had a telescope. The visitors thought that the telescope was inside and that it was the small peak at the very top of the building. What really surprised me was that the Doane was built in the 70’s and people that live in Chicago since they were kids they never knew that there was a big public telescope in Chicago.
As an intern, I find it interesting and fun working at the Doane Observatory. We teach people about the sun. How we use the telescope inside the Doane to safely solar observe. What kind of filters we use on the two different telescopes. How through one telescope they are looking at the photosphere and they are able to see sunspots, and how through the other telescope the visitors are able to see prominences in an upper layer in the sun called the chromosphere. We also show them how the roof of the doane works. The expression on the visitors faces is priceless. They get so confused to whether they are moving or the roof is moving. Also we explain to them why we don’t use the main 20’ inch telescope because it’s too powerful to solar observe and can leave us blind.
If I was a visitor that never knew about the Doane, I myself would be surprised too. I have been here in Chicago since I was born and I never knew about the public telescope in the Adler. I found out about the observatory in my freshman year in high school when we came to the Adler for a field trip. Working at the the Doane Observatory this summer was fun, and meeting all the nice and friendly people such as my amazing supervisor Dr. Larry Ciupik, Dr. Mark Subbarao, Carl, Nathalie, Dr. Friedman, Yeimi, David and my coworkers and all the mission specialists that worked with us. If you never been at the Observatory you should visit it this summer, it will be open the rest of the summer and it is completely free for everyone and all ages! So come and solar observe with the Adler Planetarium.