Aliens Among Us: IVY @ Adler After Dark

Last Thursday I traveled to the stars. Not literally (because that would be cool), but close to it. I was invited by IVY to attend Adler After Dark – an after-hours evening events series that happens every third Thursday of the month at Adler Planetarium in Chicago. As posh as IVY sounds, it’s a pretty neat membership based social club or “social university” uniting people through a curriculum focused on the Arts, Entrepreneurship, Policy, Well-being and Social Impact. Each month, members are immersed into a wide variety of events such as thought-leadership discussions, art nights, cocktail and dinner parties, film screenings, fitness and wellness activities, theatre and travel getaways. But of course the list of activities goes on. You have the luxury of catching IVY hosted events just about anywhere as they are located in major cities across the U.S. There’s no shortage of social, intellectual, cultural and professional stimulation as an IVY member. Now back to the stars.

Before exploring Adler’s new featured exhibit “Aliens Among Us” – an exploration of the never-ending search for extraterrestrial life, the museum opened its doors exclusively to IVY for the first hour for a private cocktail reception prior to public access to the exhibit. My friend Mylan and I joined fellow IVY members and networked over a complimentary drink and hors d‘oeuvres. I immediately went for the cocktail that had smoke oozing out of the cup. The space nerd in me compared the blue color of the drink to Neptune while visualizing the smoke trailing a space ship after lift off. No pun intended.

Founded by Chicago business leader Max Adler in 1930, the Adler Planetarium is America’s first planetarium dedicated to the study of astronomy and astrophysics all while inspiring space exploration and understanding the mystery of the universe. Each exhibit transported my curious mind into an exploration of space. From detecting exoplanets, Earth 2.0., to taking a closer look at microscopic sea-dwelling Tardigrades or “water bears” whose unique abilities could help us learn more about life’s adaptability outside of Earth, there was an endless amount of interesting facts right at our fingertips. Mylan geeked out on the interactive Mission Control Launch exhibit which showed a variety of functionalities like refueling the spaceship.

If you ever wondered what it would feel like floating in deep space where the only light that shines are from distant stars, then this exhibit was a perfect replica of that. To get to the exhibit we had to go through a long hall to a white door where red lighting illuminated from every corner adding to the effect. This was by far my favorite exhibit and probably the closest thing I’ll get to being in deep space.

The night concluded with the Doane Observatory where we were able to bring down our excitement to relaxation and bask in Chicago’s beautiful skyline. Right beside us stood the largest telescope open to the public with a 20-inch (0.5 m) diameter mirror allowing you to see celestial objects like the stars, planets, the moon and even galaxies. If you’re in Chicago or passing by, the Adler Planetarium is a sight to see. Until next time.

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