May 5 is celebrated as a victorious battle day by Mexican communities in the United States. So if in Chicago find a couple of Cinco de Mayo restaurant deals at Dining Out Eating In.
But if wondering why there are “falling stars” overhead or why it’s so bright outside that night, check out the following information.
The Flower Moon
If the sky isn’t particularly cloudy where you live than the evening will seem brighter than usual May 4-6, 2023. May’s full Moon has total illumination in the afternoon of May 5 at 1:36 p.m. EDT but will appear full in the evening of May 4-6. The clue to the name of the May full Moon surrounds us almost everywhere there is a plot of earth.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac has the time the moon will be rising above the horizon and setting where you live.
As followers of Travel Smart know by now, the name of a month’s Moon (and yes, it often is referred to the whole month by the same name), often comes from Native American tribes, long ago European farmers and also religions and cultures that base some festivals on lunar events.
May 5-6 is also when to watch for the Eta Aquarids, a meteor shower that typically sends about 50 meteors an hour across the sky. Their parent is 1pHalley which produces two meteor showers during the year.
The May shower is named for a bright star in constellation Eta Aquarli and is the first meteor shower from Comet Halley debris.
Earth passes through Halley’s path around the Sun again in October when its debris is known as the Orionid meteor shower that peaks around October 20.
Remember when about half dozen years ago there was a solar eclipse Aug. 21 in 2017 and places to stay near group watch locations filled fast?
NASA is already making plans on where to send experts for watch parties for the next solar eclipse. It’s less than a year, April 8, 2024.
If interested make plans to travel to Kerrville, TX, Indianapolis, IN and Cleveland, OH. NASA will set up group watching places with experts to talk about what is happening. And they are likely to have the special glasses and equipment needed to safely watch.
However, there will be an Annular Eclipse to watch this fall, Oct. 14, 2023. Although the sun will appear as a ring around the Moon, it still is dangerous to watch without precautionary measures.
The moon will appear small because its orbit has it near its farthest distance from Earth. But it will not be safe to watch this eclipse without good protection for the eyes because the Earth will not be blocking the Sun.
NASA will be broadcasting the Annular Eclipse from Kerrville, TX and Albuquerque, NM.
The prolific Lyrid Meteor Shower fills the skies with “falling stars” April 15 through April 29, 2023. But to really see them in action check the late night sky after the moon has set during their peak activity April 22-23.
However, the moon should not be a factor because it is between its new moon (dark) phase April 20 and First Quarter Moon (sliver) April 27.
The Lyrids typically produce about 18 meteors per hour traveling about 29 miles per second. On rare occasions they have produced a storm of meteorites shooting across the sky.
Lyrids’ arrival in Earth’s atmosphere is an annual sky event discovered by A.E. Thatcher in April, 1861. Thus, they are formally attributed as debris from Comet Thatcher (comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher).
To get a good idea of where they seem to originate visit Time and Date for its live-action photo centered on an area between the constellation Lyra (The Harp) with its bright Vega star, and its neighbor, constellation Hercules.
Best is to go out after midnight through pre-dawn when the star, Vega, is overhead. Be patient and allow your eyes to acclimate to the dark sky. You don’t have to look for the Lyrids’ radiant (origination point) because their trail appears longer further away.
If you have ever seen a sky show in a planetarium such as the Adler in Chicago, you know that stars and constellations rise and move from one direction in the sky to another. So, you may look northeast early in the evening for Vega, then overhead as the night progresses and then more southwest at dawn.
Even though spring vacation is mostly over travel how-to decisions still lie ahead. It seems there is more than one way than the family car or name airlines to get to your destination.
Go by bus in the Midwest
There are now more options than the family car for students to get back and forth from campuses in the Midwest and for vacationers to visit some Midwest cities without worrying about construction hassles and rising gas prices.
As of April 3, 2023, Megabus now partners with Indian Trails to expand service between cities in Illinois such as Chicago and Michigan, such as Ann Arbor, plus Wisconsin to include Milwaukee and Green Bay, and to Minneapolis in Minnesota.
“We are delighted to be expanding our service offerings once again in the Midwest,” said Megabus Vice President Colin Emberson. “This partnership will allow us to expand travel opportunities for customers in some existing cities in our network like Detroit and Chicago while also welcoming customers in a plethora of new cities.”
If it felt as if you left a light on all night Sunday April 2, it’s because our April moon begins to look full even a couple of days ahead of April 5 when it is at full illumination at 11:34 p.m. DCT. It will also appear full a couple of days afterwards.
To catch it for an early evening photo look east after sunset. If still up around midnight, look overhead. A good reference is at EarthSky. Just remember we’re after the equinox so expect sunset later each day.
The April full moon’s nickname is Pink Moon for flowering blooms but it is also called Egg Moon, Paschal and Passover Moon and even the sprouting Grass Moon. For more names and information on full moons visit Space and Solarsystem NASA.
Related: Planet Parade plus Pink Moon.
However, April’s sky watch isn’t over. The Lyrids Meteor Shower is April 15 through April 29 so more on the Lyrids next week.
Assuming your weather is good, you will see a full moon on March 6 even before it reaches full illumination at 6:40 a.m. March 7. But it will appear full even on March 5 and March 8. It is popularly known as the Worm Moon.
What’s is the reasoning behind a full moon name?
Typically, full moons are named for animal behavior at that time of year or for crop seasons or temperature changes. The Worm Moon is the last full moon of the 2023 winter season.
By March the ground should be soft enough for some insects to make their way through the topsoil. That thinking had prompted some Native Americans, Europeans and agriculturists in other cultures to think of the emergences of worms. But there are other thoughts.
According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, a Captain Jonathan Carver wrote in 1760 that after visiting the Naudowessies and other Native American tribes the March full moon is named the Worm Moon because beetle larvae begin to emerge from the bark of trees at that time of year.
Other Native American names refer to this full moon as the Eagle or Goose Moon, the Sugar Moon for the sap of sugar maples and the Wind Strong Moon, which get head nods from some regions of the U.S this year.
Religions also name full moons according to traditional rites. So, if the March full moon appears before the spring equinox, which in 2023 is March 20, it is known as the Lenten Moon. If after the spring equinox it would have been known as the Paschal Full Moon.
If looking for “falling stars,” check back here for the Lyrids, mid April.
Take advantage of Presidents Day, Monday Feb. 20, 2023, to get to know Abe Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States. A federal holiday when schools and some businesses are closed, the extra day off is a chance to sightsee everything Lincoln all at one time in historic Springfield, IL.
Among items recently added to the museum is Lincoln’s definition of democracy found on a piece of paper among the artifacts: “As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy.”
Either way, Springfield, IL and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum are worth a visit.
What to see
Visitors Center – located in the building that housed the Lincoln-Herndon Law Office, 1 S. Old State Capitol Plaza, it’s a good place to choose where to go, get advice on how much time to spend at each place and where to park or walk. Count on staying in Springfield for at least two days because the town has a lot to see and do including stuff for Route 66 aficionados. As its address implies, the Plaza also has the Old State Capitol building where politicians, including Barak Obama, stood on its historic steps to speak to the world.
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum – Way more than just a holding place for Lincoln artifacts, the Presidential Museum, located at 212 N. 6th St., has live, you-are-there shows, interesting movies and period characters including Abe, wandering the halls. The museum has interactivevignettes from his early years, political life and Civil War. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library is across the street. Both buildings need tickets.
Lincoln’s Home – A good place to see the furnishings of the period, the home is at 426 S. 7th St. Take a tour and learn more about his and his family’s years in the house.
Lincoln’s New Salem – A re-constructed historic village at 15588 History Ln. (Rt 97) Petersburg 20 miles northwest of Springfield, it portrays the life and times of Lincoln’s early years before turning to politics.
Illinois State Capitol – an imposing structure at 401 S. 2nd St,, its dome can be seen from the highway. See the rotunda and tour the legislative assembly rooms open between sessions.
Because Springfield is both the state capital and home to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, the town is “packed” with places to stay ranging from B&Bs and popular chains to large hotels.
Two of my favorites are The State House inn, a smallish, mid-last century hotel at 101 E. Adams St. It is across from the Illinois State Capitol and six blocks from the Presidential Museum, and the Inn at 835 Boutique Hotel, at 835 S. 2nd Street, a historic inn convenient to the Dana Thomas House and Lincoln’s Home.
Why two weekend dates
Abraham Lincoln’s birthday is a state holiday on Feb. 12th in California, Connecticut, Missouri, and Illinois. Presidents’ Day was originally celebrating the birthday of George Washington Feb. 22, 1732 in Virginia. It was celebrated as a Federal holiday in the 1880s. The short story is that following lots of haggling and changes of mind, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Bill that moved holiday celebrations to Monday. Thus Washington’s Birthday celebration became Presidents’ Day in honor of Washington and Lincoln.
It may be hard to believe our calendar page is about to say February. Given the popular name for February’s full moon, the Snow Moon, and the cold weather forecasted for the end of January, we may want to turn to another name for the month’s full moon, the Groundhog Moon.
Maybe that creature whose appearance sometimes forecasts an early Spring for farmers will bring good news on Feb. 2, this year. That date is just before the moon has full illuminations on Feb. 5 at 12:28 p.m. CT in 2023.
Because it technically becomes full in the afternoon when below the horizon, sky wsatchers might consider it seems quite full Feb. 4 and definitely, Feb. 6.
However, even full it will appear smaller than usual because, as with January’s full moon, February’s is a Micromoon. The opposite of a Supermoon that appears large because its orbit is close to Earth, the Micromoon’s orbit takes it farthest from Earth when full.
Time and Date has an excellent discussion on February full moon names, where the snowiest place is in the US. It quotes Climatologist Brian Brettschneider who says Valdez, Alaska is snowiest incorporated city and that east of the Rockies the area is at New Hampshire’s Mount Washington Observatory.
Time and Date also has an excellent explanation of Micromoons.
Besides snow, the Old Farmer’s Almanac says Native American tribes often name the February full moon for animals. I like that some Algonquins call it the Groundhog Moon.
Other tribal names include the Bald Eagle Moon or Eagle Moon named by the Cree and the Bear Moon so named by Ojibwe.