Assuming the weather cooperates, early risers should have no trouble spotting a fireball zooming across the sky shortly before dawn in the next few days. The Lyrids meteor shower is happening now.
They seem to be shooting out (radiant) from the Lyric constellation just northwest of its bright Vega star. They are debris from the comet Thatcher (C/1861 G1), first noted more than 2,500 years ago.
The best days to look for them are April 21-22 when the Lyrids are expected to peak at about 18 meteors an hour. Pre dawn is the best time to watch because the moon is waxing gibbous so its illumination won’t be a factor after it sets.
For the time to watch in your zone visit Time and Date. For more information on where to look visit Space which has a map to help find the radiant. For more basic meteor and Lyrid information visit NASA Lyrids.
Now that more folks are vaccinated, travel and local road traffic has picked up. If traveling around your state or through other states check their department of transportation website’s for road closures and expected delays. In Illinois it is IDOT closures.
Among the latest info releases is one from the Chicago Department of Aviation regarding O’Hare international Airport.
According to the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) the Kennedy Expressway will be working on a configuration change between Harlem Avenue and Interstate 190 beginning April 15 at 5 a.m. and continuing until fall, 2021.
As a result, westbound motorists on I-90 will merge onto a new collector-distributor road just after Canfield Avenue to access the I-190 ramps to O’Hare. The merge is about one mile before the current ramp access. Motorists should expect delays or use alternate routes.
Escape from our earthly pandemic April 12, 2021 via NASA.
Tune in to NASA Live or NASA online early, actually very early, Monday morning when, if all goes as planned, Ingenuity, the Mars Helicopter, will be seen moving and hovering beginning at 3:30 a.m. EDT.
A post flight briefing is planned for 11 a.m. EDT, April 12.
Ingenuity’s inaugural flight will livestream to (hopefully) demonstrate the first powered flight on another planet.
Don’t expect the kind of helicopter tour often touted for visiting Hawaii or the Grand Canyon. Ingenuity will be starting out slow and low in Mars’ freezing temperatures and thin air. If all goes well, it will move just a few feet up and hover a few seconds before landing.
‘That will be a major milestone: the very first powered flight in the extremely thin atmosphere of Mars, ” said a NASA statement.
Ingenuity demonstrations are expected to continue with greater altitude and distance for approximately 31 Martian days (sols). Then, Perseverance will continue its exploratory mission.
The helicopter was attached to the Perseverance rover that landed at the Jezero Crater on Mars, Feb. 18, 2021. Perseverance released Ingenuity upon reaching what was considered to be a good “helipad.”
If the light of the moon was keeping you up last night it’s because the first full moon of spring is March 28 but looks full March 27 and March 29.
And because this spring (Northern Hemisphere) full moon is closer to earth than the ones in January and February it appears brighter and is considered by some sky watchers as a “Supermoon.”
Actually, its perigee (closest part of its orbit) is March 30 so it still will continue to appear very bright and mostly full.
Don’t worry if your area is cloudy. The full moons in April, May and June will be even closer and will look like Supermoons.
Called the Worm Moon, Crow Moon or Sap Moon by some native American tribes, this full moon also sets Easter, which, in 2021, is April 4. See Tonight | EarthSky
Fun Fact:Do you know what syzygy means? It’s when three bodies, such as the Sun, Earth, and the Moon, are in alignment. See Time and Date for the term and alignment.
Time and Date also does an excellent job of explaining how long the moon really is fully illuminated and why due to the earth’s tilt it may not appear at total illumination, noting that the degree of illumination somewhat blends what appears to be a Full Moon and the last stage of a Waxing Gibbous Moon or the beginning of a Waning Gibbous Moon.
On NASA’s site a sidebar tells that the term “supermoon” was “coined by the astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979 and refers to either a new or full Moon that occurs when the Moon is within 90% of perigee, its closest approach to Earth.’
The site also connects the first spring moon’s names from native Americans and different religions. It notes that this weekend’s Full moon is also called the Pesach moon on the Jewish calendar, Paschal moon for Western Christianity and Medin in SRI Lanka.
For more word definitions and moon phases visit Space.
With COVID cases down and more people having received vaccines, travel has picked up. However, health officials still considered driving as a better alternative to flying.
In the Midwest a drive to Springfield, IL means following Route 66 for road buffs and finding that the Lincoln Museum is way better than a family may expect. It is something to experience.
Driving RTE 66 west to LA sounds awesome but if you’re a Midwesterner with only a long weekend or a Spring Break week, look closer to home. Think Springfield, Illinois’ state capital on historic US Rte. 66.
Getting Started – if you call Chicago ‘home’ your city marks the beginning or ending (however you see it) of Rte. 66. Just don’t try to find the number on current maps. Today’s interstates connect the road’s big cities such as Chicago, St. Louis, Tulsa, Los Angeles (remember the song) and such smaller, interesting towns as Litchfield, IL and Kingman, AZ.
To start out historically, begin near the Art Institute of Chicago (supposedly it started at Jackson Bvd. The sign is on Adams across Michigan Avenue from the museum so take Adams Street west to Joliet Road and onto Interstate 55. Or take your easiest way to the I-294 Tri-State Tollway where you can connect with I-55 (known in Chicago as the Stevenson Expressway). In Illinois, I-55 basically follows historic Rte 66. Illinois has posted Route 66 signs along the popular old road west.
Tip: Chicago to Springfield is about 197 miles so plan about 3 ½ hours. The police do patrol the highway so enjoy the scenery. Remember, you are on vacation.
Go – Springfield is about Lincoln, about state government, about historic homes.
Lincoln – Renew your acquaintance with the 16th President at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum. You will be in for a remarkable two hours. Yes plan to spend that amount of time to see the movies and exhibits that peel away the myths from the man and the times.
The Old Capitol building is normally open to visitors but It is supposed to be closed for updating in 2021 so you might only get pictures outside.
Go across from it to the Springfield Visitors Center in the Lincoln-Herndon Law Office at 1 S. Old State Capitol Plaza. It may still be closed for renovations but see the building from the outside.
Drive north of downtown to the Lincoln Tomb where he, his wife and three of their four children are buried.
Back to downtown, the dome of the Illinois State Capitol, 361 feet above ground, can be seen from miles away. Go inside to see where legislation has been argued and passed from 1888 to today in the House and Senate chambers on the third floor. Some of the building may be closed to the public due to COVID restrictions.
Historic homes include a Frank Lloyd Wright. One of the best examples of his work is the Dana Thomas House in Springfield. It still has all of its original art glass and much of its original furnishings. Also put the Vachel Lindsay Home on the itinerary. Built in the late 1840’s, the house was home to Mary Todd Lincoln’s sister Ann. Vachel Lindsay’s parents bought the house in 1878. It was the poet’s home until his death in 1931.
Route 66 – Springfield loves historic Route 66. Some of the old places are gone but newly renovated stops have added to the fun. Visitors can go back in time by taking in a double feature at the Route 66 Drive In or stop for a bite at the Cozy Dog Drive In, a diner at 2935 S. Sixth St. where the Waldmire family make the famed hot dog on a stick served since 1946. More place can be found on Legendary Route 66.
Where to stay – Visit Springfield is a great resource for places to stay. If you like historic inns and B&B’s consider The Inn at 835. An early 1900’s former apartment house, the Inn is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. If retro 1950’s is more your style check out The State House Inn which recently underwent a redo. Both places feature complimentary breakfasts and free parking. The last is a plus in Springfield where visitors have to feed the meters.
Tip – Wear comfortable shoes and bring the sunscreen. This is a walking town.
Imagine teeing off on TCP Sawgrass’ famed 17th “Island Hole in Ponte Vedra, FL. It has already swallowed more than one pro’s golf ball during the Players tournament going on now, March 11-14, 2021. A major tournament, the Players was moved from May to March this year.
When the tournament is over you can play the course and see if you can land a ball on the green.
Arguably, the best way to snag the tee time you want is to stay at the Sawgrass Marriott Resort. If not staying there, call and ask about a Resort Day Pass
While visiting TCP Sawgrass, soak up the legendary atmosphere with a Storyteller’s Tour of the Clubhouse and bring your camera. The Clubhouse is TCP headquarters. It and the course were built for the tour’s players.
Plan to lunch or do dinner at the Clubhouse. When weather permits, get a table on the veranda of the casual “19” restaurant for its view of The Players’ presentation area.
If time allows, book a lesson at the Tour Academy TPC Sawgrass. You can take your lesson on a course walked by the world’s greatest players.
Or stay at the Renaissance Resort at World Golf Village about half an hour south of Ponte Vedra on the western outskirts of St. Augustine. You can call over to TPC Sawgrass 14 days ahead to see if you can get a tee time.
At World Golf Village, you can try to reach its version of the 17th hole. Actor Bill Murray had landed a ball on that island green when in town for the Caddyshack Tournament he has sponsored at a World Golf Village course before The Players.
Then, chow down on great hamburgers and other pub food at Murray Bros. Caddyshack Restaurant.
Be on the alert for celebrities Golfing greats occasionally drop by because it is home to the World Golf Hall of Fame and the King and Bear course Palmer designed with Jack Nicklaus (the only course they worked on together). The resort’s other course is the Slammer and Squire. Sammy Snead and Gene Sarazen were consultants to course designer Bobby Weed.
Stroll the Walk of Champions to read Hall of Famers signatures engraved on the path to the World Golf Hall of Fame.
No matter whether bedding down at the Sawgrass Marriott or the Renaissance Resort, be sure to visit the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Head upstairs to see Hall of Famers’ lockers, learn the origins of golf and attempt to swing like the pros in a bay. Take a photograph as each of you cross St. Andrews’ famed bridge. Another flight up is the trophy room.
Tip: You might think the visit can be a quick in and out but you will find yourselves spending two hours in World Golf Hall of Fame.
World Golf Village is also the place to shop or sharpen your game. On the grounds is the PGA Tour Stop, a two-level, 30,000 square-foot golf pro shop, and the PGA Tour Golf Academy.
Both resorts are a good base for visiting the old city of St. Augustine, founded 42 years before Jamestown and 55 years before pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock.
Walk the historic area, boat the harbor and drive over to the Alligator Farm, where hundreds of birds nest in the trees knowing that animals can’t get to their nests because of the alligators below.
If you go
Sawgrass Marriott Ponte Vedra, 1000 PGA Boulevard, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. 800-577-6009 and 800-457-4653 800-457-4653
Renaissance Resort at World Golf Village, 500 S. Legacy Trail, St. Augustine, Fla. 888-740-7020
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com. The Cubs regular season begins April 1 when they play the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field.
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.
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 vangoghchicago.com or call 844-307-4644.
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.
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.