The Snow Moon

Full moon over Chicago (J Jacobs photo)
Full moon over Chicago (J Jacobs photo)

According to several astronomy sources it was northeastern native Americans who dubbed February’s full moon the Snow Moon.

Given the amount of snow that covered much of the United States in February, the moon is well named. It’s also called the Storm Moon and Hunger Moon.

That orb will be lighting up the landscape Thursday, Friday and Saturday but best time to view will be Friday night from when it appears above the horizon in the east as the sun sets to midnight when it is overhead.

Some studies mentioned by EarthSky have been done on the relationship of full moons to sleeplessness from the light point of view. Hopefully, scientists will also look at the tidal pull of full moons on sinuses.

More information on the Snow Moon can be found at TimeandDate, NASA and Old Farmers Almanac.

Go to AZ for MLB spring training and warm weather

Listen up baseball fans. Spring Training 2021 tickets for Chicago teams go on sale this week: Cubs 1 p.m. CT Feb. 19, White Sox, 11 a.m. CT Feb. 20.

Chicago weather is supposed to get better the last week of February, maybe even going up to 40 degrees. But imagine yourself in Phoenix, AZ where daytime temps are in the 70s and you exchange sweaters and sweats for shorts and T shirts.

Chicago Cubs (J Jacpbs photo)
Chicago Cubs (J Jacpbs photo)

The Cubs’ AZ home is Sloan Park in Mesa. A smaller version of Wrigley Field, Sloan Park is often called Wrigleyville West. It is bordered by roads  named Waveland and Sheffield Avenues and Clark Street.

The Sox play at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, a Phoenix suburb known as a restaurant, entertainment and sports mecca.

Go to spring training and wave your Chiago Whtie Sox cap. (M Temkin photo)
Go to spring training and wave your Chicago Whtie Sox cap. (M Temkin photo)

It may be easier to find tickets for your team’s games at competitors’ parks so get to know the schedule.

The Cubs’ schedule starts with the Padres away on March 1 and at Sloan Park against the KC Royals, March 2. Questions can be sent to The Cubs regular season begins April 1 when they play the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field.

White Sox  open at home against the Brewers, Feb. 28 then away against the Angels March 1.  For help in getting there visit Trip Planner. For more ticket, protocols and other information visit White Sox Spring Training.

The Sox play their first game away against the Angels on April 1 and are away until they play KC at home on April 8. For the regular season information visit White Sox Tickets. and Schedule.

Related 2020 articles with town and stadium color:

Take a spring training vacation

Spring training at Wrigleyville-West

Enjoy spring at Camelback Ranch or Sloan Park


Go to van Gogh

Immersive Van Gogh Chicago (Michael Brosilow photo)
Immersive Van Gogh Chicago (Michael Brosilow photo)

Put Chicago on the go-to list to experience Immersive Van Gogh.

Yes, the artist is supposed to be spelled Vincent van Gogh with a lower case v but the exhibit doesn’t worry about Van vs van.

After impressing Parisians and folks in Toronto, the exhibit is now the hot ticket in Chicago where it already sold out through March.

Immersive Van Gogh is about color, movement and mood. It is presented in a way so the public will appreciate an artist who died broke and was not valued in his lifetime.

Visitors will hear Mussorgsky’s “Pictures From an Exhibtion.” But they shouldn’t expect to see “Sunflowers,” “The Bedroom in Arles,” “Starry Night” or any self-portrait hung on a wall in its museum frame.

Housed in the Germania Club Building, a just redone landmark at 108 Germania Place on Chicago’s near north side, Immersive Van Gogh totally surrounds visitors with the artist’s famed works.

Immersive Van Gogh Chicago (Michael Brosilow photo)
Immersive Van Gogh Chicago (Michael Brosilow photo)

As scenes change, so does accompanying music ranging from Edith Piaf singing “Non, Je ne regrette rien” (I regret nothing)  and choral works to Mussorgsky and a Handel cello suite.

A multi-story, 350 degree art experience, Immersive Van Gogh is in a building  refitted by Lighthouse ArtSpace Chicago for it and future exhibitions.

Ticket prices start at $39.99 for adults, $24.99 for children 16 or younger. For more information about Immersive Van Gogh visit or call 844-307-4644.

Super Bowl commercials and more


KC Chiefs (Photo courtesy of the Chiefs)
KC Chiefs (Photo courtesy of the Chiefs)

Some people watch the super bowl for the game/half time and a chance to party, others like or dis the ads.

If in the latter category you’ll want to know that Super Bowl LV is touted as a matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Tom Brady and that the Buccaneers have home court advantage. The game is at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa at 6:30 p.m. ET.

If watching for either reason you can check out the NFL website and the Road to the Super Bowl for inside info to spread among family and friends.

To learn more about the team you favor, visit the Chiefs or Buccaneers.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo courtesy of the Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo courtesy of the Buccaneers

But for those folks who think the ads are as good or better than the main event there are a couple of broadcasts and websites to watch.

The M&Ms will be back. It is rumored that Coke and Pepsi won’t be. Also  Dolly Parton who does a great 9 to 5 version on Blue Mountain’s online  birthday cards, will adapt her version to a Kierra Cotton ad this year.

For the best commercials in the past few years, try to catch your local CBS station tonight Feb. 3, 2021. In the Chicago area it is on at 7 p.m. CT.

Here is a link to some popular ones a few years ago on you tube including a Budweiser horse that makes the team and the baby stock trader.

Jodie Jacobs


Nature plays major role in new Lake Forest boutique hotel

Bar at The Forester
Bar at The Forester

When The Forester, a hotel now going up in Conway Park at Lake Forest, opens in April 2021, visitors will find a prism-shaped front desk constructed from a white oak tree trunk, locally done botanical illustrations and foliage designed light fixtures over the bar.

The first boutique-stye hotel built under the Hyatt Place brand, The Forester will cater to business travelers and company meetings but will also welcome area residents to its restaurant, bar and event spaces.

Even though the hotel is in Conway Park, a business-focused property that includes Abbott Diagnostics, Pfizer, Trustmark, the Chicago Bears and the City of Lake Forest’s municipal services, The Forester’s ambiance embraces the City of Lake Forest’s motto “Naturae et Scientiae Amor” and is unique to the brand, according to Forester General Manager Marlena Karwowski

“The Forester Hotel is the first and only boutique-style Hyatt Place in the world.  No other Hyatt Place has its own independent-style brand identity, The Forester was inspired by science and nature, the City of Lake Forest’s founding motto, and features custom nature photography and scientific botanical illustrations of native plants commissioned by a local artist to reflect the juxtaposition of science and nature,” said Karwowski.

Lobby rendering of The Forester Hotel
Lobby rendering of The Forester Hotel

“You will see science and nature reflected throughout the hotel,” she said. As an example she added, “The restaurant features a mural with a crosscut tree trunk putting the natural pattern of tree rings on display.”

Karwowski noted that unlike the standard Hyatt Place brand hotel, it would have a full-service, chef-driven local restaurant and bar. Called Oaken Bistro + Bar, it is headed by Executive Chef Kristen Burman, formerly of Limelight Catering and Anthology San Diego. It will feature seasonal American dishes, wine and signature cocktails infused with local flowers and herbs.

Local flora and connections are important to Karwowski. “I’m working with the LF/LB Chamber to partner with them on events and I’m thinking of creating local events – something for families and pets after COVID is gone.

She said she was also working with Lake Forest Open Lands about flowers native to the area. Among her thoughts is to have designer postcards with seeds of lupine in them. Also on her list is to develop tours of old farms that are still in the area.

“I think people will find that The Forester is an escape from the city,” she said.

“The Forester brings you all the modern comforts you have come to expect from Hyatt Place like Hyatt Grand Beds and free Wi Fi, while offering a new boutique experience with individualized branding, custom design elements, and enhanced offerings,” said Karwowski.

“We are honored to be opening the first boutique-inspired Hyatt Place hotel in the world in the picturesque city of Lake Forest,” she said.

The Forester is at 200 N. Field Dr., Lake Forest, IL.

For more information visit The Forester.

Jodie Jacobs

Meteor shower and more


Meteor Shower photo courtesy of NASA
Meteor Shower photo courtesy of NASA

Look up to take your mind off 2020 politics and pandemic that still plague us on earth. The sky is endlessly interesting with bright planets such as Venus in the early morning eastern sky and Saturn and Jupiter still a cozy couple in the early twilit southwestern sky.

Now, add to the mix the Quadrantids, an annual meteor shower that has been known to send out from 50 to 100 fireballs an hour. Associated with asteroid 2003 EH1, the Quadrantids were named for the defunct constellation Quadrans Muralis.

The good news in 2021 is that the Quadrantids peak early morning before sunrise Jan. 3. Because sunrise at this time of year in the northern hemisphere is shortly after 7 a.m., the Quadrantids peak time of around 6 a.m. means you don’t have to get up in the middle of the night to catch them.

Best plan is to let your eyes acclimate to the darkish sky and look northeast where their radiant (place of origin) will be ascending.

The bad news in 2021 is that the full moon ending 2020 on Dec. 29 (into early morning Dec. 30) is only in its waning gibbous phase. That means the bright, nearly full orb of 81 % illumination, still high in the sky, can outshine the meteor lights.

If you miss the Quadrantids, mark the calendar for the Lyrids meteor shower that peaks April 21-22.

BTW – next three full moons are the Wolf Moon/Old Moon, Moon After Yule on Jan. 28; the Snow Moon/Hunger Moon on Feb. 27 and the Crow Moon/ Lenten Moon/Worm Moon on March 28.

For more meteor shower info visit TimeandDate, Space and EarthSky.






Long Night Moon


Full moon over Chicago (J Jacobs photo)
Full moon over Chicago (J Jacobs photo)

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere and thought you didn’t need street lights to meander outside last night, you will have the same brightness tonight  – unless you are in or around Chicago’s expected first big snowfall.

The bright light is thanks to the Long Night Moon, a full moon also called the Cold Moon, it shines from dusk to dawn.

Considered by some as the last full moon of the decade, it will be at its fullest at 9:28 CT Dec. 29, 2020. But because it is still lighting the sky after midnight it might be on some calendars as Dec. 30.

Other sky watchers consider Dec. 12, 2019 the last full moon of the decade.

For more full moon info check EarthSky, NASA, TimeandDate and Farmers Almanac.



Jupiter and Saturn and meteors oh my

Graphic made from a simulation program, showing a view of the 2020 great conjunction through the naked eye just after sunset (NASA photo)
Graphic made from a simulation program, showing a view of the 2020 great conjunction through the naked eye just after sunset.  (NASA photo)

We, in the Northern Hemisphere, may hate that nights leading up to the Winter Solstice Dec. 21, 2020 have gotten longer. But this year the darkness is a bonus.

Because, shortly after the sun sets, Monday, Dec. 21, sky watchers should be able to see two of our planets, Jupiter and Saturn, closer to each other’s orbits then they will be for years.

In addition, staying darker longer also means being able to watch the Ursid Meteor shower which peaks Dec. 21 and what’s left of the Geminids early Monday (or Tuesday) morning.

(BTW, even though the Winter Solstice has the shortest amount of daylight, the earliest sunset already occurred and the latest sunrise is still a few days off. See what your sunrise and set times are.

Prime time to see the two planets at their closest is 4:15 p.m. CST Monday, low in the southwest. But you can see them fairly close to each other through December.

What regular sky watchers know is that the two planets do pass near each other every 20 years as they last did in 2000. The difference this year is that their orbits bring them 10 times closer than in 2000.

Indeed, they will be closer than they have been seen at night than in 800 years and closer during the day in 400 years. Seen together as a “great conjunction,” they may resemble one large  or elongated planet or star.

As for the meteors, the Ursids which shoot across the sky seemingly radiating from Ursa Minor about 10 meteors per hour, aren’t as plentiful as the Geminids. However, both can be seen Dec. 20-22. The Ursid comet parent is 8P/Tuttle.



Best meteor shower this year


Meteor Shower photo courtesy of NASA
Meteor Shower photo courtesy of NASA

Look up early, early morning after midnight, Sunday, Dec. 13 or Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. The Geminids will be flying across the sky.

Considered the best meteor shower of the year, the Geminids turn out about 120 meteors per hour.

Fortunately the moon, now in its new phase, won’t be a factor. But weather, at least in the Chicago area, is.

However, the Geminids whose radiant is the bright Castor star in the constellation Gemini (The Twins), can be seen in both hemispheres. Its parent is 3200 Phaethon.

Best viewing is away from street and commercial lights so consider bringing a friend to keep you company.

For more information visit NASA Solar System Exploration, TimeandDate, and EarthSky.




Watch for ‘shooting stars’


Meteor Shower photo courtesy of NASA
Meteor Shower photo courtesy of NASA

Look up Nov. 16 about midnight.

The Leonids, the debris from Comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle, will be shooting across the sky at about 15 meteors per hour. They will be traveling at about 44 miles per second.

You probably can catch sight of a few of these “shooting stars” because they are bright and light from the moon won’t be a factor. The moon will be in its waxing crescent phase and sets early evening.

These meteors are called Leonids because the radiant (point in the sky where the meteors seem to come from) is in the constellation Leo.

Also, put the Geminids on the calendar for a sky watch Dec. 13-1, 2020.

For more information visit Earthsky, TimeandDate and NASA.