Meteor Watch

 

Look up at night or just before dawn. You might see a meteorite zooming across the sky from now through mid August.

 

NASA captures meteor shower

NASA captures meteor shower

The Delta Aquarid meteor shower which peaks July 28 is best viewed in the Southern Hemisphere but you might see a flash of light looking south. This week is fairly good to sky watch because there is a waxing crescent (just a sliver of a moon).

In addition, the Northern Hemisphere’s popular Perseid meteor shower that peaks Aug. 12/13 in 2017, has already started so you might catch one of its meteorites almost anywhere in the sky.

Unfortunately for Perseid watchers, following a full moon Aug. 7, there will be a waning gibbous moon with about 77 percent illumination Aug. 12 and 67 percent illumination Aug. 13, so the moonlight will make it harder to pick up the meteorites. The Perseids can still be seen though there are fewer of them during the next waxing moon Aug. 16-18.

 

The Delta Aquarids and Perseids

The Aquarids are named for Skat, a star whose Greek name is Delta Aquarid. The star is below the Great Square of Pegasus in the Piscis Austrinus constellation. For more Aquarids info and a meteor shower calendar click on Earth Sky.

The Perseids go all over the sky but radiate from the Perseus constellation. They are coming from the Swift-Tuttle comet. You see them when Earth crosses its orbit. Visit NASA and Meteors for NASA’s Perseid information

 

 

 

Four summer things to do in Chicago on a stacation or as a visitor

 

From going to museums and shows to enjoying neighborhood festivals and awesome public art, there is always something to see and do in Chicago.

Indeed, there is so much to choose from that trying to wade through all the information is akin to almost drowning in a sea of information.

So here are four suggestions for different ages and interests.

 

Sharks at the Shedd 

See and find out about sharks at the Shedd. Shedd Aquarium photo

See and find out about sharks at the Shedd. Shedd Aquarium photo

 

It doesn’t matter if you missed Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” programs at the end of July, you can visit the sharks and learn about them at the Shedd Aquariam, one of Chicago’s most visited museums.

Instead of merely watching Shedd inhabitants swim and cavort, find out more about what you are seeing by chatting with divers and experts during animal chats. They take place at different times each day at the Caribbean Reef with a diver during feeding time, at Wild Reef when an expert answers such question s as why the sharks you’ll see don’t eat their fish companions, and at the Oceanarium where there are beluga and sea lions animal chats. There is also a daily expert answering questions about penguins in the Polar Play Zone

However, there is also a 60 minute shark feeding tour experience at the Wild Reef that is fascinating. Because it is a behind the scenes tour it needs planning ahead of time and special tickets. For that info visit Sharks. For animal chats visit Shedd.

 

Musical Madagascar

Imagine DreamWorks 2005 film coming alive on stage.  With award winning director/choreographer Rachel Rockwell at the helm, the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre’s version of the characters is jazzy enough and cool enough to keep youngsters and adults clapping and moving for 70 short minutes. It’s certainly family friendly but adults don’t have to find a child to come and enjoy a show about New York’s Central Park Zoo residents escaping to an island country.

Madagascar "animals" escape from zoo on Chicago Shakespeare's stage. Liz Lauren photo

Madagascar “animals” escape from zoo on Chicago Shakespeare’s stage. Liz Lauren photo

‘Madagascar is at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre on Navy Pier, 800 Grand Avenue, Chicago, now through Aug. 27, 2017. For tickets and other information visit ChicagoShakes.

 

Andersonville Eats

Andersonville, known as home to the Swedish American Museum and ethnic restaurants, is holding its annual Dinner Crawl Aug. 9. However, if not able to make the event check out the website to put together your own taste of Andersonville.

Typcialy attracting 600 foodies, the event offers three choices: Golden Fork, Silver Spoon  and The Works routes and menus. The Crawl starts at 4 p.m. at the Swedish American Museum, 5211 N. Clark St. For tickets and a list of restaurants and stops visit Andersonville.

 

A Picasso Celebration of Public Art

For people who remember when that 50-foot tall, odd-looking sculpture was set up on Daley Plaza 50 years ago, it might seem like yesterday that Pablo Picasso designed an extraordinary sculpture for Chicago. People who keep an eye on the statue to see what sport celebration may be crowning it or hanging around its neck, the sculpture has come to signify city pride. And it’s universally recognized. So what to do when its 50th anniversary  rolls around?

Well, in Chicago the anniversary will be celebrated with a re-staging of its unveiling, music performances and a few speeches beginning at noon, Aug. 8.

Chicago's Picasso sculpture symbolizes city pride. Jacobs photo

Chicago’s Picasso sculpture symbolizes city pride. Jacobs photo

But if unable to make the storied event, this summer is a good chance to  appreciate the city’s year-long celebration: “20017 Year of Public Art.”  The Chicago Public Art Collection, managed by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, contains more than 500 art works scattered throughout the city.

From Anish Kapoor’s “Cloud Gate (The Bean) and Jaume Plense’s Crown Fountain in Millennium Park to Jean Dubuffet’s  “Monument with Standing Beast” at the State of Illinois Building  and Alexander Calder’s “Flamingo” a the Federal Center Plaza, there are enough sculptures  to walk around just downtown for an entire day. For a guide to the art works visit DCASE.

 

 

Where to be August 21 in 2017

 

If standing in the right place at the right time, your world will start to get cooler as the sun seems to disappear. Then, it will be dark and chilly. And no, you won’t be watching a sci-fi movie or be experiencing the end of the world as described in mythology. You will be experiencing a total solar eclipse.

The Adler Planetarium's "Chasing Eclipses" exhibit simulates a total solar eclipse that includes the cooling air and sounds. Jodie Jacobs photos

The Adler Planetarium’s “Chasing Eclipses” exhibit simulates a total solar eclipse that includes the cooling air and sounds. Jodie Jacobs photos

Unless you plan to be in the south Pacific or South America on Dec. 14, 2020 or in Dallas, Indianapolis or Cleveland, April 8, 2024, your best bet to experience a total solar eclipse is in the United States Aug. 21, 2017 along a diagonal path from  Salem, Oregon in the northwest through Carbondale, IL in the Midwest to Charleston, South Carolina in the southeast.

 

Direct Time and Place

In the Midwest, people who travel to Carbondale in southern Illinois will see the moon totally blocking the sun for about 2 minutes and 41.6 sec. It’s actually safe to look when the sun is totally covered then. but not before or afterwards. If you don’t think that’s a long time to be in the dark try watching a clock tick off the seconds.

Carbondale, home of Southern Illinois University,  is one of the best places to go to because of the long blockage beginning at 1:20 p.m. CDT and because it is one of NASA’s official sites. The Adler will have an event in Carbondale where astronomers and eclipse chasers will converge. Total coverage last about 2 minutes and 42 seconds.

You can draw your own line on a map from Salem, OR to Charleston, SC to see what other towns are in the eclipse path. Even though the blockage won’t be as long as in Carbonadale they will have a total eclipse. The towns along the path are all expecting visitors so are hosting eclipse events.

For example for Oregon visit Salem, Madras and Oregon for festivals, where to stay and what to do. If near Salem the eclipse is at 10:19 a.m. PDT and lasts 2 min, 4 sec.

For Carbondale, go to SIU. Totality there happens at 1:20 CDT.  Also check out Charleston where the eclipse ends on US soil. Charleston is in the dark for about one minute, 40 seconds. For other places in South Carolina visit Great American Eclipse SC .

Accommodations have been going fast along the eclipse path so if planning to travel to a city where there will be total darkness don’t wait to find a place to stay whether camping or looking for an inn.

 

Chicago

Those places mentioned are dead center on the path but that doesn’t mean you wont have a great eclipse moment several miles away.

At the Adler's "Chasing Eclipses" exhibit, astronomer Larry Ciupik points out where Carbondale is on the 2017 eclipse path that goes from left to right. It is bisected by the eclipse path that will run from southeast to north west in 2024.

At the Adler’s “Chasing Eclipses” exhibit, astronomer Larry Ciupik points out where Carbondale is on the 2017 eclipse path that goes from left to right. It is bisected by the eclipse path that will run from southeast to north west in 2024.

In Chicago, the moon will begin blocking the sun about 11:54 a.m.CDT,  reach maximum coverage about 1:30 p.m. and be all the way through by 2:30 p.m.

“While it won’t be absolute total blockage in Chicago, the city will experience a 90 percent eclipse,” said Adler Planetarium astronomer Larry Ciupik. And that is with Chicago located about a six and a half hour drive north of Carbondale.

Thousands of people are expected to join the Adler’s watching party, according to Ciupik. Proper glasses will be handed out until the supply is gone. For the Adler’s big eclipse bash visit Adler Eclipse. For official NASA viewing sites visit NASA Event Locations.

 

Safety

It’s not OK to look while the moon is moving across the sun even when a little bit of the sun is peeking out. Looking at the sun when there is not total blockage will damage the eyes. See NASA for more eclipse information and NASA Safety for viewing tips.

You have to use certified glasses to watch. Another way is to look at the events shadow on the ground by turning your back to the sun and making a peep hole with your hands, one in front of the other as described on the NASA safety site.

 

So take advantage of the event by making it a summer vacation but don’t wait to make arrangements.

 

 

 

 

Five favorite Chicago area alfresco spaces

How picky are you when it comes to eating outdoors when you want to take advantage of Chicago’s often too -short summer season?

If not at all picky, you might not mind cars pulling into the spaces close to your sidewalk café table. After all, sidewalk cafés are not just a Parisian thing. As soon as the weather turns balmy, lots of restaurants set out tables. Sometimes the space is marked off by planters.

However, here are a few places to consider if looking for a bumper-free, emissions-free  outdoor experience when you want to relax over brunch lunch, dinner or cocktails. in or around Chicago . The places may not be what you would expect but they’re nice for relaxing, meeting friends, lovely views and good food.

 

Lake Forest

At Market House on the Square in north suburban Lake Forest, guests favor the historic building’s (former fire station) British-style bar and dining room when there is a chill in the air. But when summer comes, it’s all about lunching or dining out on the patio. Nothing is typical here. From a tempura fish sandwich and a “griddled” burger with wild mushrooms and red pepper ranch or a poached pear salad at lunch to PEI mussels with frites or a short ribs shepherd’s pie for supper, the offerings are delish and creative. Many of the menu items come from Executive Chef Dan Marquis’ Mill Road Farms.

Market House on the Square is at 655 Forest Ave., Lake Forest, IL. For reservations call (847) 234-8800 and visit Market House.

Chicago Botanic Garden features three places to eat with relaxing views. Jacobs photo

Chicago Botanic Garden features three places to eat with relaxing views.
Jacobs photo

 

Glencoe

Instead of only going to the Chicago Botanic Garden to walk among the flowers or visit the Brazilian butterflies that are there now, plan to do breakfast, brunch or lunch ton the outdoor deck of the Garden View Café.  There is also the Garden Grille for burgers and brats and the new Rose Terrace Beer Garden that has craft beers when looking for a place to lunch or for later dining and relaxing with a garden view.

The Chicago Botanic Garden is at 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe just east of the Edens Expressway. For more information call (847) 835-5440 and visit CBG  and Chicago Botanic Outdoor Dining.

 

Chicago’s Mag Mile

Walk into Shanghai Terrace at the Peninsula Chicago and relax outdoors with a terrific cocktail and wonderful dim sum (think shrimp, Peking duck and barbecue pork). The restaurant a few floors above North Michigan Avenue, spreads outside with comfortable seating and tables as soon as weather permits.

The Peninusla Chicago is at 108 E. Superior St., Chicabgo. For reservations and other information call (312) 573- 6695 or 312-337-288 and visit Peninsula.

 

Wheaton

Who would have thought a public golf course would also be known as an event venue or for its cuisine or for its wonderful patio. But if in the Wheaton area at meal time, stop at the Arrowhead Golf Club and ask for an outside table. The club ss a public facility operated  by the Wheaton Park District that just happens to have great food and views of the course from its terrace like patio.

Arrowhead Golf Club is at 26W151 Butterfield Rd.,  Wheaton, IL  For other information call (630) 653-5800) and visit Arrowhead Golf Club.

Enjoy good food and views from the terrace like patio at Arrowhead Golf Club, a public venue. Jacobs photo

Enjoy good food and views from the terrace like patio at Arrowhead Golf Club, a public venue. Jacobs photo

 

Geneva

There often is a wait list to sit on Fiora’s patio overlooking the town but people who go early and during the week can usually snag an outdoor  table. The restaurant is in a historic building where food and ambiance make it a popular choice.

Fiora’s is at 317 Third St., Geneva, IL. For reservations and more information call 630-262-1317 and visit Fiora’s.

 

BTW Please feel free to add your own favorite Chicago area place for dining outside.

 

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