Harvest Moon says fall is here

 

Full Moon in September is the Harvest Moon. ( J Jacobs photo)
Full Moon in September is the Harvest Moon. ( J Jacobs photo)

You might not have heard of the Sturgeon Moon in August or the Buck Moon in July but chances are you’ve heard of the Harvest Moon that is appearing overhead now in September.

It’s more than just a popular song.

Harvest Moon is the name some cultures, native tribes and farmers have given to the full moon that usually appears mid to late September because it rises when the sun goes down thus giving famers more light to get the crops in.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the September autumnal equinox. In 2021 that comes Sept. 22 when day and night are about equal in length. (It comes in March in the Southern Hemisphere)

You probably noticed that large golden orb already appearing above the horizon. It will be fullest and brightest Sept. 20, about 6:45 p.m. CDT. but will also appear full the following day.

If listening to TV weather reports, you are likely to hear meteorologists referencing the date as the beginning of autumnal fall but adding that meteorological fall began about 3 weeks before the September equinox on Sept. 1.

Autumnal fall ends at  the December Solstice, when astronomical winter begins. but for meteorologists the fall season ends Nov. 30.

Check Time and Date for more more equinox information and go to the Old Farmer’s Almanac for more full moon facts and folklore.

 

 

Civilian space travel launches tonight for three day orbit

 Inspiration4 crew with their Crew Dragon spacecraft. (Photo credit: Inspiration4)
Inspiration4 crew with their Crew Dragon spacecraft. (Photo credit: Inspiration4)

Watch the first all-civilian space launch and flight from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida  beginning Sept. 15 at Space.com.

Called Inspiration4, the mission is organized by entrepreneur Jared Isaacman,  to raise funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Isaacman, the mission commander, will be accompanied by three other crewmembers for a three-day flight around the earth in a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft. The mission will be using a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

Lift off is scheduled from Launch Complex 39A at the NASA Space Center during a five-hour window beginning 8:02 p.m. EDT (0002 Sept. 16 GMT). However, the action can be seen at watch launch here and the Space.com homepage starting at 3:45 p.m. EDT (1945 GMT), courtesy of SpaceX. Splashdown is expected to be in the Atlantic Ocean.

Netflix will also stream a live webcast of the launch countdown on YouTube beginning one hour before liftoff, and you can watch that live here.

Also on the mission are geoscientist/science communicator Sian Proctor as pilot, plus physician assistant Hayley Arcenaux as chief medical officer and data engineer Chris Sembroski as a mission specialist.

The mission is expected to pave the way for future private space travel. To see an interview with Issaacman and Arcenaux visit video.

 

 

 

Do a fun visit to a Chicago tourist site

 

Chicago's Picasso ( J Jacobs photo)
Chicago’s Picasso ( J Jacobs photo)

Local volunteers have been taking visitors and residents through neighborhoods, popular tour sites and lesser known gem locations since 2002.

To celebrate them on the 6th Annual International Greeter Day the city is inviting the public to Explore Chicago Sept 18, 2021 with any of three personalized guided classic tours from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. CT.

The tours: The Loop, Historic Chinatown and Chicago Riverwalk, will meet at Millennium Park at the southwest tent that borders the great lawn. Scavenger hunt experiences will be included at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. and at 1:30 p.m.  Tours are free and pre-registration is not required. Walk-ups are welcome.

In addition to the International Greeters Day event, Chicago Greeters have launched three new initiatives  2021.

Welcome to Our Neighborhood Walks

Led by diverse groups and organizations, the tours highlight community’s unique stories, top attractions and under-the-radar finds.

Instagreeter Downtown Meet Ups

Designed to offer visitors a quick, flexible tour option, these one-hour tours of Chicago’s downtown Loop neighborhood depart from the Chicago Cultural Center’s Welcome Center on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays with no reservation required.

Self-Guided Greeter Tours

Presented by Bank of America, these self-guided itineraries provide visitors and locals with curated, virtual tours designed by local experts to showcase each neighborhood’s unique history, culture and hidden gems. Through video, blog, and social content, this series spotlights six Chicago neighborhoods.

For more information about the Chicago Greeters program, visit Chicago Greeter.

Take a staycation or vacation with great room views and where food and entertainment lies steps outside

 

Navy Pier fireworks (Photo courtesy of Navy Pier)
Navy Pier fireworks (Photo courtesy of Navy Pier)

If not interested in flying or taking a long driving trip this Labor Day Weekend, consider making Navy Pier your destination.

Now that Hilton has built The Sable Hotel on Navy Pier, it makes sense to stay where fireworks fill the sky Wednesdays and Saturdays through Labor Day Weekend, delicious dishes please all ages, music and entertainment is free on the Lake Stage and the Beer Garden, movies are shown at the Lake Stage Lawn in Polk Park across the Pier’s entrance through \August, and the Centennial Wheel is a ride you’ll want to take each day of the stay.

After dining at Harry Carey’s Tavern or Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Bar and Grill, take in the views and while sipping well-crafted cocktails at the Offshore Rooftop and Bar, possibly the country’s larges rooftop terrace.

If there Aug. 28, 2021 spend the evening at Navy Pier’s Lake Stage to watch Resurgence, a program showcasing Chicago’s black dance companies. Look for times, tickets and other entertainment options at Cultural Attractions & Public Spaces.

If getting out on the water that lies just outside your door is too tempting to miss while staying so close, check the cruises that pull right up to the Pier.

 

 

 

Illinois State Fair still a summer getaway

 

Illinois State Fair. (photo courtesy of Illinois.gov)
Illinois State Fair. (photo courtesy of Illinois.gov)

It’s not too late to go to the  Illinois State Fair in Springfield. Think food, carnival rides, food, free entertainment, food, a twilight parade harness, tech exhibits, auto racing and food.

An easy three-hour drive south from Chicago, it’s about two miles in from Interstate 55 at the Sangamon Ave. exit 100 B.

Even though the 2021 fair started Aug. 12, it continues through Aug. 22 with  daily special events and a new, must check-out, Tech Prairie STEAM Expo that opens Aug. 18 in the Orr Building.

The STEAM (like STEM) Expo features drone racing, interactive exhibits, Esport competitions and demonstrations. Go to the STEAM Expo website for drone racing and Esports competition registration links,  exhibitors, livestreaming links and schedule of events at www.illinois.gov/steamexpo.

What you should know

Bring a mask for indoor exhibits

Find general information at General Info (illinois.gov.

Look for the Daily schedule illinois.gov to find events during your visit.

Hours: The Fairgrounds are open from 7 a.m. to Midnight.

General admission is Children (0-12) , free; Adults (13-59)   $10 (Fridays & Saturdays) and  Adults (13-59)  $5 (other days) and Seniors (60+)  $3.

Parking is $5 daily.

The State fairgrounds are at 801 E. Sangamon Ave.,  Springfield, IL.(

(The ramps to exit Sangamon Ave to I-55 are closed for construction so  detour to Sherman or Clear Lake Ave. exits for I-55. For ideas on what to do and what you will see go to  Rides and Attractions – Rides and Attractions (illinois.gov)

Visit the STEAM Expo website for drone racing and Esports competition registration links, a list of exhibitors, livestreaming links and schedule of events at www.illinois.gov/steamexpo.

Where to celebrate July Fourth with fireworks and celebrities

DC Fireworks (Photo courtesy of PBS and Capitol Fourth)
DC Fireworks (Photo courtesy of PBS and Capitol Fourth)

This July 4th, toast our country’s Independence Day with family and friends or just your pet who hates firecracker sounds to watch “A Capital Fourth” from Washington D.C.

What

Hosted and broadcasted by PBS, the show starts at 8 p.m. ET with a star spangled list of performers, the National Symphony Orchestra and members of the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, “Pershing’s Own” U.S. Army Band,  the Joint Armed forces Chorus and the Armed forces color Guard.

It ends with spectacular fireworks filling the Capitol sky to the sounds of Tchaikovsky’s ” 1812 Overture.

Performers

Hosted by recording  artist/Broadway/TV star Vanessa Williams, top names in pop, R&B, country, Broadway and classical entertainment will perform from their pre-taped locations across the country. World-renowned four-time Grammy Award-winning soprano Renée Fleming opens the show in Washington DC with the national anthem.

Hear music legend Jimmy Buffett, Tony, Emmy, and Grammy winner Cynthia Erivo in Southern California; platinum country music icon  Alan Jackson from Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, and Grammy Award-winning artists Pentatonix from Los Angeles.

Also watch Gammy-winning country star Jennifer Nettles from the famed Town Hall in NYC’s Town Hall with the Broadway Inspirational Voices; actress/singer Auli’i Cravalho from the Unisphere; the multi-Grammy Award-winning band Train  from near San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.

Entertainers recorded in Washington, DC include the “Empress of Soul” Gladys Knight; country music star Mickey Guyton; Tony Award-winning Broadway and television personality Ali Stroker;  ACM New Male Artist of the Year,  multi-platinum country music singer-songwriter Jimmie Allen and Broadway star Laura Osnes

The National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by top pops conductor Jack Everly, will play John Williams’  “Olympic Fanfare” in tribute to the  members of Team USA who are getting ready for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.  The concert also honors members of the military and their families for their contributions and dedication to service.

When and How

The 41st annual broadcast of A Capitol Fourth airs on PBS Sunday, July 4, 2021 from 8:00 to 9:30 p.m. ET, as well as to our troops serving around the world on the American Forces Network. The program can also be heard in stereo over NPR member stations nationwide, and will be streaming on FacebookYouTube and at A Capitol Fourth.

 

 

 

Early bird catches a partial solar eclipse Thursday

Lunar and solar eclipse (Photo courtesy of NASA)
Lunar and solar eclipse (Photo courtesy of NASA)

Folks in northern Canada can catch  the best part of June 10’s  eclipse event as the new moon’s orbit moves it across the sky to block the sun.

In the US, the best areas to see it are north and east such as in New York City where the eclipse magnitude will be 80 percent and last for more than an hour after sunrise. .

Chicago area residents will be able to see an eclipse, it just will be a partial one and not last long. Thus, the best way to catch it is after getting protective glasses or using an alternative viewing method, to look to the horizon when the sun appears.

That means watching beginning at 5:15 a.m. through 5:39 a.m. Compared to the north east including NYC’s high magnitude, Chicago’s magnitude will be 35 percent at 5:18 a.m.

Two good sites for information on this solar eclipse event are Time and Date and Space.

Meteorites skim planet Earth this week

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

The Eta Aquarids, the first half of Halley’s Comet’s two rounds of meteor showers, peak May 4-6, 2021. The two meteor showers are debris from Comet Halley as Earth  passes through the comet’s path around the Sun.

Seen in both hemispheres, the Southern Hemisphere arguably offers a better view now when its radiant, the Aquarius constellation, is overhead and Northern is better for its second round, the Orionids, in October. But both meteor showers are popular with sky watchers.

After acclimating your sight to the night, look in the southern sky for Eta Aquarii, the constellation’s brightest star. Depending on the weather, you may be treated to more than 30 meteorites per hour.

The moon, now in its waning crescent phase should not be a factor, particularly if watching for the meteorites early on May 6 before dawn.

For moon phases visit Moon Phases 2021 – Lunar Calendar (timeanddate.com). For times to watch in your area, check Time and Date. For more information visit NASA In Depth. For more Eta Aquarid and Comet Halley info see Space.

 

Supermoon

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

Forget about turning off the light that may be keeping you up on April 26-27. It’s streaming in through the windows from upstairs, outside. However, the source will have seemed larger earlier in the evening.

What’s shining through the windows if the sky is clear, is not merely a full moon. The orb outside is a Supermoon. It really isn’t larger. It just plays tricks on the eyes and perspective as it appears huge when first appearing at the horizon and in early evening.

The April full moon, also known as the “Pink Moon”  is a Supermoon because it will be closer to Earth than most other full moons. The exception being the full moon in May 26, called the “Flower Moon” that will be even closer.

Some astronomy sites only designate the April and May full moons  as Supermoons. Other sites include June 24’s which is also close. Still other sites include the March full moon which was fairly close.

For times to watch or photograph the moon check. EarthSky. The site also has the April, May June, 2021 Supermoons’ distances from the moon to Earth with April 27 at 222,212 miles (357,615 km), May 26 at 222,089 miles (357,462km) and June 24 at 224,662 miles (361,558 km).

If interested in how this all happens, you should know about the lunar perigee. It’s when the moon’s orbit brings it to its closest point to Earth. The opposite is apogee.

Of course, the third factor is where the earth is in relation to the moon and the sun to be a full moon. So, the April Supermoon actually happens about 12 hours short of it lunar perigee and May’s Supermoon falls about nine hours after perigee. The reason some sites refer just to April and May’s full moons as Supermoons is because less than 24 hours occur between the perigee and full moon phase.

Next, don’t be surprised if bothered with sinus trouble and  have a full-moon sized headache. Because the pull of the full moon, particuclarly the Supermoon, does influence the tides, lore has it that their affect on humans and animals can also be felt.

For more information visit Time and Date and see TimeandDate /picture tips and visit NASA. moons. For an expert opinion on which full moons to include in the Supermoon category, visit Space.

 

 

Chicago area ideas to treat Mom

Chicago Botanic Garden is a spring and Mother's Day destination. (Photo by J Jacobs)
Chicago Botanic Garden is a spring and Mother’s Day destination. (Photo by J Jacobs)

Even though Mother’s Day isn’t until May 9 in 2021, reservations fill fast so now is the time to figure out something special. The ideas listed here: Stay, Play, Eat, Treat, Spa and Ooh La La, can also apply elsewhere so consider them a guide. For parts two and three in this series visit Chicago Theater and Arts and Dining Out-Eating In.

Stay

Deer Path Inn
A historic 1929 hostelry

Book a room or suite at the Deer Path Inn, a historic 1929  hostelry that would fit well in a British town but actually is in Lake Forest, IL. Ranked No 1 Resort Hotel in the Midwest and 18th in the world, according to Travel & Leisure, it s a block from the town’s historic Market Square and Metra train station.

Do try an authentic Afternoon English tea while there.

Or reserve a room with a view at Sable  at Navy Pier. A new hotel in the Hilton Curio Collection it features Offshore, supposedly the world’s largest roof-top bar. Outside the door, stroll Navy Pier which reopens April 30, 2021 and ride its famed Centennial Wheel (Check ahead for ride tickets).

Play

Relax on a scenic boat ride that starts on the Chicago River near Michigan Avenue. Among the choices are the popular architectural tours on Wendella and the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s River Cruise on the First Lady.

Or stroll the paths, scenic water features and see what’s blooming at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Go online ahead of time to get a parking pass because there is timed entry and Mother’s Day is very popular here.

Eat

Do brunch at any of the Wildberry Pancake Restaurants. Service is good and it’s family friendly so its okay to bring kids and grandkids. There are two locations in Chicago, one in Libertyville and one in Schaumburg  Wildberry Cafe Chicago

Or enjoy a French Toast Flight at Batter and Berries in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. BTW they also have delish omelets, breakfast sandwiches and waffles.

Treat

Ambrosia, a Barrington patisserie. (J Jacobs photo)
Ambrosia, a Barrington patisserie. (J Jacobs photo)

Pick up a cake, torte or pastry from a great patisserie. Hard to decide what to get when looking at the lineup of cakes, croissants and chocolate treats at Ambrosia, a European style patisserie in the northwest suburb of Barrington.

 

The same is true of Vanille a French patisserie in the  Lincoln Park neighborhood.

Spa

Get Mom a gift certificate for the Peninsula Spa Chicago.  She can use the pool before or afterwards or just sit along side it to view the Magnificent Mile. Hotel.

Or get a gift certificate for the Midtown operated spa at the Hyatt Lodge, Oakbrook. The Lodge has nice grounds and spa.

Ooh la la

Say Happy Mother’s Day as if it were Valentine’s Day with candy and flowers.

The Chicago area has several good candy shops. Among them is Sweets in Lake Forest that is also known for its ice cream and Amy’s Candy Bar in Ravenswood. Both are local favorites that may become your new go-to place.

For flower arrangements and plant pots with a little oomf to them check out Phillip’s and Athena.