Some sky sites say September’s full moon appears on the 28th of the month. Others say look for it on the 29th. They are both right. The crest of the full moon is 4:57 a.m. CDT on Sept. 29. But you will see the full moon which is another of this year’s supermoons, at sunset on Sept. 28. I like EarthSky for this information.
Followers of Travel Smart know that full moons have different names. Some relate to the season’s weather or crops while others connect to Native American, Celtic and other cultures.
Not surprisingly, September 2023 is the Harvest Moon because it is the full moon closest to the fall equinox, Sept. 23. It is also called the corn moon.
Unless the weather interfers, it will be easy to see. Its larger than usual size and brightness has to do with its closeness to earth and not anything extra.
If you like finding planets in relations to the moon, look for Saturn an hour earlier. It will be moving through the sky ahead of the full moon. Jupiter will be tagging along after the moon.
August 2023 ends with a “Blue Moon” but it’s not blue.
The month also ends with a “Supermoon” that seems larger than usual. But even though it appears larger, the moon didn’t actually grow.
It also ends with a full moon. And yes, at full illumination it is full. So what is happening?
First, the phrase “once in a blue moon” came about because it is a somewhat rare occurence. It refers to having two full moons in one month. When a month starts out with a full moon it has enough days to complete the moon’s phase cycle with a second full moon as has happened in the 31 days of August 2023. (It can also be a seasonal blue month it is the third full moon in one season).
Time and Date notes that the last Super Blue Moon was December 2009, and the next one is August 2032. Also, that the next Blue Moon is August 2024, but it isn’t a Supermoon.
According to Space, our second August moon will look larger and brighter than other full moons in 2023. It is one of the year’s Supermoons, a moon that is full at the same time its orbit brings it closest to Earth (perigee).
But the second August full moon will be closer to earth than the other Supermoons. The average distance to the moon according to many scientific sites is 238,855 miles.
However, this August moon will be 221.942 miles, Aug. 30 at 9:36 p.m. EDT.
I like the NASA Science site that explains the August Blue Supermoon.
If you have clear skies and can watch after midnight, chances are good that you can catch way more than one “falling ” star this weekend.
The bright, prolific Perseids, will be shooting debris from the 109P/ Swift- Tuttle comet at 90 or more meteors per hour late at night, Aug. 11-13 and peaking Aug. the 13th. The moon is a waning crescent so shouldn’t be a light factor.
They already started in mid-July and continue until Sept 1 but this weekend is expected to be their biggest display.
They are fun to watch as they are fast (37 miles per second) and are streaks of light with long trains or “wakes.” Plus, they are usually colorful.
Best time to look is very, very early in the morning before the sun rises. They shoot all over the sky but the radiant (where they seem to come from) is the northern section of constellation Perseus which is higher in the sky shortly before dawn.
Instead of stopping merely to stretch, think of the stop as a way to make a driving trip extra special. Sometimes we get so caught up in getting there we don’t take advantage of the unusual museums actually located along our way or in towns we’ll stop at anyway.
Because many towns have multiple sights it’s easier to fit in a place that makes it into popular guides. However, doing so may mean losing out on a place you will be excitedly recommending to others.
The following places are just a few of the unusual stops that a lucky travel writer might have uncovered. (Feel free to add your own recommendations.)
The Archway: If taking I80 across Nebraska, do more then stop to take a photo and go under the picturesque arch crossing above the highway at Kearney.
Opened in 2000, it celebrates the early and modern travelers who went west along the Great Platte River. See and hear life-like figures tell their stories against stagecoach and wagon backdrops. There’s even a more modern vista of autos and diners.
City Museum: If taking I70 or any of the other roads that lead to St. Louis, MO, make time to go downtown to explore this weirdly crazy museum. It opened about 25 years ago in an abandoned shoe factory. You will definitely feel like an explorer as you listen to menacing organ sounds while finding unexpected objects and pathways inside, outside on the roof and along different levels including underground.
Traveling North South
If driving the 101 to LA, go downtown to its latest museum, the Academy of Motion Pictures Museum that opened in 2021. it often updates exhibitions so you might catch old movies and costumes one time and might see Star Wars figures the next time.
4. If taking I 55 down to New Orleans, LA go to the warehouse district for the spectacular National WWII Museum. It has planes and artifacts but it is not about planes. It is a multimedia experience with immersive exhibits and first- person histories. Its “Expressions of America” reveals reflections of the men and women who served. It’s new Liberation Pavilion opens early Nov. 2023.
Sky watchers might catch a glimpse of the Capricornids. They are not abundant but if you see a bright slash across the sky it’s likely to be a Capricornid meteor. They peaked July 26 but are continuing through mid-August.
Look for the triangular Capricornus (Sea Goat) constellation for the Capricornid radiant.
Then be rewarded for looking up the beginning of August when the Delta Aquarids fly across the sky at about 10 per hour.
They peaked July 29 but continue through Aug. 19. However, you might miss some because they are not bright and don’t have a noticeable tail.
For their radiant look for Aquarius the Water Bearer (see a triangle of stars with a fourth star in the middle) between Capricornus and Pegasis’ Great Square.
Next, watch for the Perseids in mid-August. They are already shooting across the sky but will peak about Aug. 13-15 and continue through Aug. 24.
They come from the Swift-Tuttle also are abundant but more easily seen than the Delta Aquarids.
You likely heard the phrase, ‘once in a blue moon.’ It’s about rarity, not color. It’s when one month boasts two full moons. And August 2023 is a prime example.
First, watch for the first full moon, called the Sturgeon Moon, on Aug.1, Peak illumination is 2:32 p.m. Eastern Time, but you should be watching for it after sunset when it’s more visible as it rises in the east.
It is also a Supermoon. Because its orbit brings it close to earth it will appear larger and brighter.
As for its name, it refers to when the Great Lakes’ huge sturgeon are often caught. Menacing looking, it is the North America’s largest fish and is considered prehistoric (136 million years ago) in origin.
For a great Sturgeon exhibit, check out Grand Rapics, MI’s Public Musuem.
The August moon is also called the “Corn” moon by some Native American tribes and many farmers.
Then, look skyward at the end of the month for the second full moon. What we call a “Blue Moon” appears August 30 with peak illumination at 9:36 p.m. ET.
Its appearance late in the month begins the later cycle of monthly full moon dates.
One other full moon note is that the moon will appear full the day before peak illumination and the day after so expect more night lite and picture taking ops.
If you love snapping photos of a full moon, particularly a supermoon, you’ll love this summer season of 2023.
There’s not just one supermoon. There will be four of them lighting up the sky between July 1 and Sept. 28. Yes, there will be what is called a “blue moon.”
As NASA’s Solar System Exploration site explains (NASA capitalizes Earth and Moon when referring to specific planetary orbs), “a supermoon occurs when a full moon coincides with the Moon’s closest approach to Earth in its elliptical orbit, a point known as perigee.”
That point is less than 226,000 miles from earth so its closeness means the moon will look larger than usual. It’s called a ‘supermoon’ if within 90 percent of perigee.
Different scientific organizations and sites use different calculations. The word “supermoon” as known today was first used by astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979.
The EarthSky website uses supermoon dates and times determined by astronomer Fred Espenak, who worked at the Goddard Space Flight Center. Espenak takes in account changes in the moon’s orbit per lunar cycle.
Earth/Sky uses the Astropixels table for the upcoming supermoons:
July 2-3: 224,895 miles (361,934 km), Aug 1: 222,158 miles (357,530 km), Aug 30-31: 222,043 miles (357,344 km), Sept 28-29: 224,658 miles (361,552 km).
As you look at the different distances you see that the second August supermoon is the closest. And you understand that with two full moons in the same month we’re talking about “once in a blue moon” meaning the rarity of two full moons in the same month.
That second full moon now marks the start of a cycle where the moon is full later in a month as opposed to the early monthly dates we saw so far in 2023.
Ready for the July 2023 Supermoon? The Old Farmer’s Almanac calls it the Buck Moon because the male deer’ antlers are in full growth. The bucks shed and regrow antlers producing a larger set each year.
Other July full moon names reference animal and plant changes such as the Salmon Moon, Ripe Corn and Berry Moon.
When to get the camera (phone) ready? The July supermoon is at peak illumination at 7:39 a.m. ET. July 3, the but will look full July 2 and July 4 so you may get an interesting photo during your local fireworks celebration. But try to also get a photo without fireworks lighting up the sky.
When do you think summer starts? Is it when school ends or weather turns warm enough to swim outdoors? Or it could be when your local meteorologist announces astronomical summer.
In the Northern Hemisphere the Summer (June) Solstice is June 21 in the year 2023.
Take advantage of the June Solstice, also called the Summer Solstice. It is the longest day and shortest night and this year. So, there is more daylight to work in the yard, take long walks, eat dinner out on the patio or just enjoy summer. Just remember to use sunscreen.
For its meaning, think Latin sol for sun and sistere for standing still. IKt certainly stands still in the Arctic Circle which won’t get dark because the sun won’t set there. Think Midnight Sun.
Earth/Sky, The Farmer’s Almanac and Space explain the long day relates to the sun’s angle to the Equator and is the farthest north of the horizon in the Northern Hemisphere.
NASA explains the long day is due to the tilt of the Earth and has a graphic showing the angle.
Of course, such a momentous time of year has related folklore. Most of those events come under the title Midsummer.
That may sound as a misnomer, but the June Solstice marking the beginning of the season is a starting point that is usually marked a few days later with Midsummer celebrations. It’s when many northern cultures such as Sweden, Finland and Ireland historically celebrated the time with rituals, visits to Stonehenge, and religious occasions.
Maybe hold your own Midsummer celebration. Check Travel Sweden for how they do it and their Midsummer dates.
*Ed note: The following article is a slightly condensed version of writer/ theater critic/ videographer Reno Lovison’s Podcast on becoming more familiar with Asians in Chicago. After hearing all the misunderstandings that occurred during and after COVID I believe more people should try to get to know their local Asian communities. Consider exploring their areas abroad. But also think local for a travel treat. Reno has included some of his favorite Asian eating spots in Chicago.
Asian is a rather broad term whose nations encompass all of the Asian continent including Eastern Asia with China, Mongolia, Japan, North and South Korea. South-East Asia includes the area of the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Singapore, Malaysia, Laos, and others.
South Asia is the southern subregion of Asia, defined in both geographical and ethnic-cultural terms that commonly includes Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, with Afghanistan also often included.
Central Asia includes what are sometimes remembered as the “stan” countries of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan, while Western Asia generally includes the countries referred to as the Middle-East with Turkey, Israel, Armenia and all of the Arabian Peninsula.
The Pacific Islands refer to all of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia including our own Hawaiian Islands.
Forgive me for any omissions, this is not intended to be a comprehensive list rather I encourage you to do some research of your own as you consider your exploration of how the Asian culture has manifested itself within the Chicago experience.
The first Chinese who were mainly Cantonese speakers arrived in Chicago around the time the transcontinental railroad was completed on May 10, 1869. This was because a majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants. Now, 43,228 individuals in Chicago identified as Chinese according to the 2010 census, represent 1.6% of the city’s population. About 10,000 ethnic Chinese reside within the historic Chinatown area.
I encourage you to look into the Asian American historical record by visiting the Chinese American Museum of Chicago at 238 West 23rd St. The museum can be a great jumping off point to explore the Chinatown area.
If you really feel adventurous, consider taking the Chicago Water Taxi from Michigan Avenue downtown to Ping Tom Park. There are spectacular views of the riverwalk and historic buildings along the way including the Willis Tower and the Opera House.
Now, I am no expert on Chicago’s Asian Community but I would like to share some of my own experiences from the point-of-view of a lifelong Chicago resident who has a relationship with the South-East Asia Center in Uptown.
This relationship has been an opportunity to appreciate the struggles of immigrants in general as well as the various cultures the organization serves.
Established about 40 years ago with a mission to help resettle individuals from South-East Asia after the Vietnamese conflict, the center has grown to serve not only South-East Asians but also other newly arrived immigrants including those from Russia, Somalia, Afghanistan, Latin America and more.
The Center currently has more than 40 languages spoken among staff and clients. Its ESL classes are an essential service that helps newly arrived immigrants learn, practice and improve their English language skills.
Becoming a volunteer ESL tutor only requires about two weekends of training and is an excellent way to get beyond the tourist approach and become more personally involved with people from other cultures. I have done it myself and have really enjoyed the interactions with my students and what I learned from them.
For those over 60, the South-East Asia Center hosts a Golden Diners Lunch Program Monday through Friday from about 11:30 to 1:30. This is one of a number of dining locations around the city that provide a pay-as-you-please lunch option for seniors.
The spirit of the program is not to provide low-cost meals but rather to encourage seniors to get out into their communities and interact with one another.
By the way, the building that houses the South-East Asia Center’s Golden Diners Program at 5120 North Broadway is a local landmark that was originally built as a German Beer Garden and stands as a testament to the ethnic changes that have taken place around the city. At this location you’ll typically be treated to a very traditional Vietnamese style meal.
There are also Asian meals offered in Chinatown at the Chinese Community Center, Korean faire on north Kedzie, and Indian and Pakistani options on Devon and on North California. The city’s Golden Diners website provides addresses and details.
While we are talking about this part of the city, I must mention the Argyle Street commercial area just east of Broadway that is easily accessible by the Redline.
Known as “Little Saigon,” this street is inviting to anyone who wants to experience South-East Asian culture with local stores and (no-kidding) about 20 restaurants that either feature Pho or have Pho in their name
For the uninitiated Pho (pronounced “fuh”) is a kind of broth with vegetables and meat typically served in a surprisingly large bowl. On a cold day you will manage to eat it all.
Other things to try might be Banh mi , a delicious baguette sandwich that reflects the country’s French colonial influence or steamed Bao, a pillowy soft steamed dumpling folded and filled with meat and veggies.
One of my favorites is the Vietnamese crispy savory crepe which is a cross between an omelet and French crepe folded and garnished with ample quantities of fresh herbs and greens accompanied by a sweet and pungent sauce.
Argyle Night Market, held every Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m. through August is a perfect time to experience the neighborhood and rub shoulders with the locals. Check out Explore Uptown.
Heading north and a bit west to Devon and Western will take you into the heart of “Little India,” the South Asian or Indo Pakistan area of the city where you can enjoy the sights and smells of this rich culture.
The street is festooned with nearly a mile of colorful sari shops and local markets where you can pick up fresh spices like saffron, turmeric and more.
This area is purported to have some of the best Indian restaurants in the country. Ask virtually any person throughout the South Indian diaspora and they will likely tell you they have a brother or cousin who lives here.
Food is of course the gateway to experiencing any culture so I’ll just give you a few of my favorite spots. I am not saying they are necessarily the best in category but they will provide a place for you to begin your personal exploration and encourage you to get out into some of Chicago’s northside ethnic neighborhoods. I have often said you can explore the world by exploring Chicago.
For Thai cuisine we typically default to Tiparo’s just south of North Avenue on Clark Street. We usually split one Tofu Pad Thai and one Crazy Noodles with Chicken. The portions are big enough for us to get two meals apiece out of an order of each to go.
Reza’s in Andersonville, a popular spot for Persian dining, features various skewers of grilled meat served on a bed of dill rice. Next door, Andie’s Mediterranean, has a large menu with a number of delicious vegetarian options.
At Foster and Clark is the Middle East Market where you can pick up an assortment of foods ideal for tasty lunches or light suppers. My stop there recently included a few spinach and cheese pies, a few parsley and cheese pies with kalamata olives, some veggie topped flat bread, a half-dozen falafel, hummus with roasted garlic, and some pita, feta cheese and kalamata olives to supplement other home cooked meals.
Staying within the western Asian cuisine, a little to the west on the other side of Rosehill Cemetery at a point known as the bend at the corner of Maplewood and Lincoln, is the Shawarma Inn purported to have the best (and in this case I agree) shawarma in the area.
If you are not familiar, shawarma is sirloin beef cooked rotisserie tyle and thinly shaved, served over rice or as a pita sandwich. Their hummus is also exceptional.
For the record this area is home to a large Assyrian population. The Assyrian civilization at one time incorporated the entire Near East, most notably the area of the Fertile Crescent or Northern Mesopotamia.
The heartland of Assyria lies in present-day northern Iraq, southeastern Turkey, northeastern Syria, and northwestern Iran. The remains of the ancient capital of Assyria, Nineveh, lies within Mosul in northern Iraq.
It is not far from the Museum of Science and Industry where you will find Japanese Gardens along the lagoon. This stunning spot with its iconic bridge and cheery trees was originally created by the government of Japan for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. Reconstructed and renamed officially as the Garden of the Phoenix. A prominent feature as of 2016 is a sculpture entitled “Sky Landing” by acclaimed artist Yoko Ono.
Back up north, Bryn Mawr between Kedzie and Kimball, is traditionally the Korean neighborhood, but I have enjoyed Midori for Japanese food in this neighborhood at 3310 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.
When it comes to Korean food, I have to give the nod to Soon at Noon Hour Grill at 6930 N. Glenwood in Rogers Park. Soon introduced me to bi bim bop about 30 years ago and I have judged every experience with that dish against hers ever since. This restaurant also has easy access via the red line Morse stop.
For some quick casual Filipino food, I like Merla’s Kitchen at Foster and Kimball. Her chicken adobo is well respected and her handmade empanadas made to order are large fresh, fried on the spot and delicious. It may take a little time but it will be worth the wait.
I believe a little-known gem is Jibek Jolu, a casual, family-run Kyrgyzstan eatery at 5047 N. Lincoln Ave. which serves hearty Central Asian fare. In my opinion this is literally where East meets West and those of us with Eastern European traditions will find some familiar looking and tasting options with a distinct Asian twist.
This Chicago Asian community overview is hardly comprehensive but I hope it will whet your appetite and encourage you to experience some new or different cultures.
Please go beyond the simple tourist approach of eating and gawking. Find some way to get involved in the important process of connecting with other people. Invite a friend or neighbor from a different ethnic group to join you on your expedition or be your guide. Do the same for them. Enjoy your differences but pay attention to your similarities and make note of the many things we all have in common.
Reno Lovison is the executive producer of Chicago Broadcasting Network.