Save eclipse glasses for next big solar event

 

The next time a total solar eclipse crosses the United States isn’t that far off. It’s April 8, 2024

Floor map of eclipse paths at the Adler Planetarium. Jodie Jacobs photos
Floor map of eclipse paths at the Adler Planetarium. Jodie Jacobs photos

If you didn’t have a chance to experience totality on Aug. 21, 2017 you might want to plan where you want to see it next time. Even if you don’t go you might know someone who will. So save those eclipse glasses if lucky enough to have a pair.

Carbondale, IL will again be dead center when the eclipse path crosses the United States. But the path of the 2024 total solar eclipse will cut the opposite direction. It will go from Mexico in the southwest to Maine in the northeast as it moves across Texas, Arkansas, Indiana, Ohio, New York and Vermont.

Consider then, taking a spring vacation in Austin or Dallas Texas, Indianapolis, Toledo or Cleveland, Ohio or the Buffalo, Niagara Falls area or even Montreal. Chicago won’t be in the direct total solar eclipse path until Sept. 14, 2099.

To go now to walk across the map visit Adler Planetarium’s “Chasing Eclipses” exhibit. It has a terrific floor map of the total solar eclipse path for 2017, 2024 and 2099.

The Adler also has a total solar eclipse experience at one end of the exhibit complete with cooler air, expected sounds and a good visual eclipse.

 

Why experience totality

The following quote from Adler Astronomer Larry Ciupik, the Doane Observatory director,  describes what he saw in Capo San Lucas, Mexico July 1991.

“It didn’t matter how much I knew about it or prepared for it, my first total solar eclipse was unexpected and unlike anything I’ve ever seen!” Ciupik said on an Adler web site.

He went on to explain. “In the last few seconds before totality, the sky darkened to a deep blue, then purple, and faint wavering lines appeared—shadow bands—whisking across the sand of our beachside site. Suddenly, the Sun itself dramatically changed. I took off my special solar viewing filter and saw what looked like a hole in the sky surrounded by a pearlescent glow. The Sun’s outer atmosphere, the corona, resembled outstretched wings several times wider than the hole on each side.”

Also, totality will last longer on its path. It will range from three minutes plus seconds to four minutes plus seconds over most of the United States in April 2024 instead of the two minutes plus seconds it did  in August 2017.  For the 2024 path click here and at Time and Date.

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

 

Checking locations

To figure the time of the eclipse in the city you want to visit check its latitude and longitude then go to NASA Path.

The information is thanks to NASA and Fred Espenak.  The numbers are in Universal Time so for central daylight time subtract 5 hours and eastern daylight time subtract 4 hours.

Another good resource is Earth Sky. For another map of eclipses see EarthSky Essentials.

 

Adler Exhibit

“Chasing Eclipses”is up now through through Jan. 8, 2018. The Adler Planetarium is on the Museum campus at 1300 South Lake Shore Drive Chicago, IL 60605. For ticket and other information visit Adler Planetarium and call (312) 922-7827.

 

 

 

Chicago hosts World Roller Derby where it all began

 

If you remember when you used to roller skate in the neighborhood or go to a local rink to roller skate, or if you like things retro, then mark down Aug. 19, when the World Roller Derby game will be played in south suburban Summit using 1970s rules and classic uniforms.

Joan Weston, L, of the Westerners and Cathie Read of the Bombers compete back in mid last century. Roller Derby Hall of Fame photo.
Joan Weston, L, of the Westerners and Cathie Read of the Bombers compete back in mid last century. Roller Derby Hall of Fame photo.

If you like the idea of celebrating a sport in the city where it began, then head to the former site of the Chicago Coliseum on Aug. 13

Roller Derby athletes and fans will be there to mark Chicagoan Leo Seltzer’s organizing the first Roller Derby Race where it first took place, Aug. 13, 1935.

 

Event Info

For the Aug. 13 celebration, go from 12:30 to 2 p.m. to Coliseum Park at 1513 S. Wabash Ave.

To see the retro roller derby game, a double header from 2  to 6 p.m., go to the Fleetwood Roller Rink, at 7231 W. Archer Ave. in Summit (south of Brookfield and I 55), Aug. 19.

Participants  will be wearing the classic uniforms of the Midwest Pioneers and the Chicago Westerners using the 1970s rules. There will also be a Junior Roller Derby game.

Tickets are needed and limited so contact Brown Paper Tickets, a World Roller Derby Week partner, at Time Hop.

”We want to look back at our roots, pay respect to its founding members and to the city of Chicago, to celebrate our beginnings and progress, and give back to the community through service,” said World Roller Derby Week organizer Cheryl Cryer. “The roller derby story should be shared broadly as we look to our future in our juniors, who will no doubt carry us further than we could ever imagine.” Cryer said.

The event is also partnering with the American Red Cross for a national blood drive. Donor Pledges will be available at the events.

 

Hall of Fame

Raise you hands if you knew there is a Roller Derby Hall of Fame. You can find out about the sport and who is inducted there by clicking Roller Derby.

It was housed at NYC’s  Madison Square Garden in the early 70s, closed. But the sport hasn’t disappeared. There are nearly two thousand women’s, men’s and junior leagues skating and competing.  The Hall of fame reopened in Brooklyn in the early 2000s and will be moving to southern California soon.

 

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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

 

 

 

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 Memorial Day Weekend ideas

Chicago Memorial Day Parade is on State Street May 27. City of Chicago photo
Chicago Memorial Day Parade is on State Street May 27. City of Chicago photo

Say Memorial Day to some folks and the response is it’s the time to commemorate people who died while in military service. To others it signifies the beginning of summer vacation.

On some town’s websites are parades, ceremonies and even a history note explaining that Memorial Day was originally Decoration Day and started shortly after the Civil War.

On others, it begins the period from the end of May through Labor Day when beaches are open, lifeguards are on duty, several outdoor fests and tourist activities take place and bus routes are added.

Five suggested Memorial Day Weekend activities in the Chicago area range from fireworks and festivals to a parade and party plus there’s a bus route bonus.

 

Parade

The City of Chicago is holding a Wreath Laying ceremony in Daley Plaza at Dearborn and Washington Streets at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 27, 2017.  It will be followed by a parade that starts at noon from nearby State and Lake Streets and travels south on State to Van Buren Street. The Grand Marshal is Marine Corps Commanding General Robert S. Walsh. The parade, among the country’s largest, includes veterans’ groups, marching bands and antique military vehicles. Visit Chicago for more info. The national Memorial Day remembrance is 3 p.m. Monday, May 29, 2017.   For an excellent government-based web-site with history and other info visit Government.

 

Parties

View the city while partying at Roof on the Wit Memorial Day Weekend. Mike Reeves photo
View the city while partying at Roof on the Wit Memorial Day Weekend. Mike Reeves photo

Chicago House Party – DJs and performers take over Millennium Park,’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion and North Chase Promenade Tent May 27, 2017, from 2 to 9 p.m. Expect a variety of “house music” a style started in Chicago that is danced to throughout the country. The grassy areas are good for picnics or dancing. For performer schedules check City of Chicago. Millennium Park is at Randolph through Monroe Parkways along Michigan Avenue.

 

ROOF on theWit, a fun space with great cocktails and views of the city is starting its JETSET s series May 26-27, 2017. The party transports  guests to Barcelona, Spain  minus the airline hassle. ROOF on theWit is 27 stories above the Wit Hotel at 201 N. State St. at Lake Street, Chicago. For reservations visit Roof. JetSet weekends start at 2pm.  For more information and reservations, visit Roof or call  (312) 239-9502.

 

 

Festivals

The Belmont-Sheffield Music Fest runs from noon to 10 p.m. May 27 and May 28, 2017. A street party that has been going on for more than 20 years, the fest attracts excellent bands, good food, beer and wine booths and also features arts and crafts. A $5 entry donation benefits the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce. Entry is at 3200 N. Sheffield, Chicago. Vist Chicago Events for more information.

Dovetail owners Hagen Dost and Bill Wesselink welcome visitors to their brewery.
Dovetail owners Hagen Dost and Bill Wesselink welcome visitors to their brewery.

 

Celebrate “Mayfestiversary,” a block party at and around Dovetail Brewery, 1800 W. Belle Plaine Rd. Dovetail is celebrating its first anniversary with Begyle Brewing which is marking the second  anniversary of its taproom. There will be food trucks,  live music and games. B elle Plaine Avenue will be closed from Ravensood to the CTA line. Part of proceeds benefit Foundations of Music.The festival goes from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. May 27 and 28, 2017. For more information visit at Dovetail or call (773) 683-1414.

 

Fireworks

Navy Pier is always good for a holiday outing but the Chicago attraction restarts its summer fireworks display Saturday, May 27 at 10:15 p.m. Among the ways to celebrate the weekend is to cruise on the Spirit of Chicago or Odyssey or stop in at the Miller Lite Beer Garden to hear Hot Rocks do Rolling Stones tributes from 2 to 11:30 p.m. BTW the Rolling Stones Exhibitionism upstairs at Navy Pier is worth seeing.  Navy Pier is at 600 E. Grand Ave. , Chicago, IL 800 )595-PIER (7437) For more information visit Navy Pier or call (800) 595-PIER (7437).

 

Bonus

The CTA’s No 10 Bus that goes to the Museum of Science and Industry starts again Memorial Day weekend. That means it will be easier to get there from downtown Chicago to see the terrific Robots  exhibit.

 

Shout out for World Penguin Day

Zoos and aquariums are celebrating World Penguin Day today, April 25, 2017. The date was picked because that is when Antarctic penguins annually start migrating north.

Penguins at the Shedd Aquarium. Jodie Jacobs photo
Penguins at the Shedd Aquarium. Jodie Jacobs photo

 

In Chicago, the Shedd Aquarium is celebrating with a wonderful series of videos showing penguins making a nest at the aquarium, a new-born penguin being fed and a Shedd program that rescues African penguins in trouble.

Click Shedd  to watch the videos. And visit the Shedd, 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive, to watch penguins play.

 

The Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago is also is a good place to watch penguins. Go to LPZoo for more information.

 

A good online site to learn about penguins and find excellent photos is EarthSky. A not for profit site, EarthSky is a good place for space information and our planet’s news.

 

On the west coast, the San Diego Zoo is celebrating World Penguin Day with special penguin themed activities. Go to SDZ to see the events.

 

Sky happenings: Launches and meteors

Launches to Space Station. on TV Photo courtesy of NASA
Launches to Space Station. on TV Photo courtesy of NASA

 

Space events April 16 to 23 make this is a good week to link to NASA and look up.

 

If “Hidden Figures”  rekindled interest in NASA, its launches and its people, now is prime time to see what’s happening.

Beginning at 10 a.m. CT today, April 18, NASA is launching Orbital ATK CRS-7, a cargo mission to resupply the Space Station. Click here for more information and to watch it.

Secondly, very early in the morning of April 20 at 2:13 a.m. CT is the launch of the Expedition 51 crew to the Space Station. Visit launch for information on the Expedition 51 crew and how to watch it on TV.

 

Then, during the predawn hours of April 22 , look up to the north east to spy meteors streaking across the sky. They are the Lyrids which are debris from Comet C-1861 G1 Thatcher near the bright Vega star. Vega is in the Lyra Constellation.

The Geminid meteor shower is greater than the Lyrids but meteor showers are still awesome to see. segment of a NASA photo
The Geminid meteor shower is greater than the Lyrids but meteor showers are still awesome to see. segment of a NASA photo

The Lyrids actually began Sunday, April 16 but they peak early Saturday after Vega is high in the sky well after midnight.

Considered the oldest observable shower, it was first noted more than 2,600 years ago.

A good site for more Lyrids information is Time and Date

 

 

Sunday Lollapalooza tickets sale

Special tickets to Lollapalooza are already sold out. However, general admission tickets to Grant Park for Sunday, Aug 6, 2017 went on sale this morning (Wednesday, March 22) at 10 a.m. Concert goers can catch performances on 8 stages from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Among Sunday’s features are Arcade Fire, Justice and Zeds Dead. For the full concert lineup see Lineup. For Sunday tickets go to Lollapalooza tickets.

Lollapalooza returns to Grant Park in 2017 City of Chicago Photo
Lollapalooza returns to Grant Park in 2017
City of Chicago Photo

 

Five ways to ease the change to daylight savings time

 

You know that with seasonal change you are supposed to “spring” ahead sometime really early Sunday morning, March 12, right?

Well yes, it does depend on where you live because not all places in the United States go from standard to daylight time. Your friends and relatives in Hawaii and in many Arizona locations probably remind you they just don’t do daylight time.

Are you really going to reset your clock ahead an hour sometime around 2 a.m. Sunday morning? Photo by Jodie Jacobs
Are you really going to reset your clock ahead an hour sometime around 2 a.m. Sunday morning? Photo by Jodie Jacobs

However, the US official time when clocks skip an hour is 2 a.m. whatever local time you’re at.

According to a US Navy site, Congress designated that beginning in 2007 daylight time started on the second Sunday of March and ended the first Sunday of November when clocks would “fall back” to standard time.

Mark your calendar Nov. 5 for your extra hour of sleep if you think the date applies. You can click policy act for more  information.

 

Here are five suggestions to help get through the tough change.

1.    Change different clocks at different times. Change the clock by your bed before you go to sleep. So if it’s 10 p.m. move it to 11 and tell yourself you are becoming a night owl. Change the kitchen clock in the morning and think how nice it is have slept in so that what was 8 a.m. is now 9 am.

2.    Don’t set the alarm for Sunday morning. See what time you can sleep to if given the chance (Unless you are in the church choir but maybe others will also be late).

3.     Now, go around the house to check all the other clocks you don’t always look at such as the one on the oven, microwave and coffee pot.  Even in this era of automatic computer time adjustments those don’t usually change by themselves. If you would rather not have to do this again in the fall, get a new appliance that does change automatically.

4.     If you have one of those bird clocks that sounds lovely when it tweets on the hour but which you hate when you have to take out the batteries and go back to a specific time, put batteries back in and reset, then ask a friend to come over. Tell the person you want to share the joy of learning the different bird sounds and show your friend how to turn the tiny wheel in back until the right time appears.

5.    Call a friend to see if that person is up. Say it’s a friendly wake-up call but actually misery likes company.

 

How to feel a bit Irish this weekend and next

“Faith and Begorrah,” it seems everyone is already in an Irish mood.

Restaurants, grocery stores and neighborhoods are taking the phrase “Go Green” seriously now through St. Patrick’s Day March 17.

Chicago celebrates St. Patrick's Day by turning the Chicago River green. City of Chicago photo
Chicago celebrates St. Patrick’s Day by turning the Chicago River green. City of Chicago photo

Here are just a few of the places in and around Chicago where you might hear céad míle fáilte (a hundred thousand welcomes) and Irish music, see Irish dancers and feel you ought to be wearing something green.

The Suburbs

Walk into any Hackney’s, a 76-year-old family run restaurant and pub this week to see how leprechauns expressed the family’s Irish roots and pride. The menu has lots of choices including the famed Hackney Burger but during the weeks leading up to St. Pat’s Day you might want to go for the corned beef, straight up or in a Reuben.

For Irish music with your grocery shopping check out the Sunset Foods stores in the northern suburbs.  Irish dancers will be at Sunset’s five store on March 5. They will be in Libertyville at 10:30 a.m., Lake Forest at 11:45 a.m., Highland Park at 1 p.m., Northbrook at 2 p.m. and Long Grove at 3 p.m.

 

Chicago

The city has several St. Patrick’s Day parades but your first stops should be on Saturday, March 11, 2017.

Greening the River

The Chicago River at Michigan Avenue and Wacker Driver will be turned green when  vegetable dye is poured in at 9 a.m.

Downtown Parade

The city’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade has bagpipers, bands, dancers and dignitaries step off at noon from Grant Park at Columbus Drive between Balbo and Monroe Drives.

Irish Festival

Lots of folks go over to the Irish American Heritage Center at 4626 N. Knox Ave. after the parade for an all afternoon-evening party. Tickets: $12-$15 adults; free for children 12 & under. The festival continues on Sunday.

 

Neighborhood Parades on March 12

South Side Irish Parade http://www.southsideirishparade.org/
Time is noon from Western Avenue between 103rd St. & 115th St.

Northwest Side Irish Parade
Time is noon from Onahan School at 6634 W. Raven St.