After noon today, visit the Adler Planetarium and check out the transit of Mercury, where the smallest planet passes in front of the sun. There’ll be a webcast indoors. Next show: 2015. More info at Sky & Telescope. Webcast info here.

Then take a nice three-hour fall drive south, and attend the last hearing about the siting of a new Exelon nuclear reactor in downstate Clinton — part of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s effort to “streamline” the licensing process. (“Streamline” is bureaucratese for “make the nuke a fait accompli before the neighbors wise up.”)  6 PM, Clinton Junior High School, 701 Illini Drive. Be sure to read the official details (PDF). Publicity from Nuclear Energy Information Service, but last I checked their Web site wasn’t up to date.

On Saturday, November 11, attend the launch party in southwest suburban Frankfort, Illinois, for an international standard-setting professional organization — one of the few that can charge $20 ($30 at the door):  the International Pole Federation USA East, “run by a board of experienced pole dance instructors.” Hostesses Mary Ellyn Weissman and Fawnia Mondey-Dietrich will preside.