Skip to main content

WTTW/CHICAGO TONIGHT Special Coverage of the Solar Eclipse on Monday, August 21, 2017

For immediate release
Chicago, IL - August 18, 2017

Throughout the day on Monday, August 21, WTTW will provide immersive coverage of the rare solar eclipse – the first since February 26, 1979.

Beginning at approximately 11:45 am, CHICAGO TONIGHT correspondent Eddie Arruza will begin covering the eclipse from Adler Planetarium’s block party, Eclipse Fest, on Facebook Live. (In the Central Time Zone, the eclipse will be visible between 11:54 am and 2:42 pm, with the maximum view at 1:19 pm, and WTTW will share NASA’s livestream of the eclipse on its homepage.) Before and throughout the eclipse, Eddie will talk to scientists from the Adler, including Andrew Johnston, VP of Astronomy and Collections.

CHICAGO TONIGHT correspondent Alex Ruppenthal will be on site at the Lincoln Park Zoo, observing the animals for any changes in behavior. He will speak to the zoo’s behavior specialists and volunteers, who will be conducting increased observations during the eclipse.

Related digital stories on the eclipse include: an interview with Michelle Nichols, the Director of Public Observing at the Adler, who recalls an emotional reaction to the last total eclipse she witnessed in 1999; an informative story on the science behind the eclipse with Kris McCall, director of the Cernan Earth and Space Center at Triton College; safety tips for watching the eclipse; a detailed rundown of 12 watch parties in the Chicago area; and why a DePaul sociologist believes the eclipse is perfect for today's viewing audience. Also CHICAGO TONIGHT will be collecting reader photos to share online, and possibly on the air.

During the live program at 7:00 pm (and on Facebook), CHICAGO TONIGHT will feature a debrief from Eddie on the eclipse with experts from the Adler, and also a report from Adler astronomer Luciana Walkowicz, who will be in Carbondale for the total eclipse (the nearest path of totality, also called Umbra). Jim Holstein, Field Museum collections manager, will weigh in with insight on how humans have reacted to solar eclipses throughout history. And we’ll hear from Chicagoans about their experiences.

“We are excited to bring our audiences a uniquely local perspective on this rare astronomical phenomenon,” said CHICAGO TONIGHT Executive Producer Mary Field. “We look forward to talking with our friends at the Adler, the Zoo, Field Museum, and everyone who is taking part in this special event.”

WTTW’s sister station WFMT will be in on the celebration as well – throughout his Morning Program that day, host Carl Grapentine will be sharing a playlist of “sun”-related classical music selections, including works by Mozart, Strauss, Haydn, Handel, and…Lennon/McCartney.

CHICAGO TONIGHT, which daily covers the stories of the day in politics, education, arts and culture, business, and science and technology, is available via broadcast on WTTW11 and WTTW Prime, via live stream on WTTW’s Facebook page, on, as a podcast, and via the PBS/WTTW video app.

WTTW is a premier public media organization committed to creating and presenting unique television and digital media content across four distinct television channels – WTTW11, WTTW Prime, WTTW Create/WTTW WORLD, and WTTW PBS Kids – and on Recognized for award-winning local and national productions such as Chicago Tonight, Check, Please!, 10 Buildings, Homes, Parks, and Towns That Changed America, and Soundstage, WTTW presents the very best in public affairs, arts and culture, nature and science, history and documentary, and children’s programming. Connect with WTTW on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.