Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Plan a Trip with Your Child to Watch the Summer Meteor Showers

We, here in the northern hemisphere, are fast approaching several meteor showers.  There are two at the end of July, Delta Aquarids and Capricornids, and a rather big shower in August, Perseids.  Delta Aquarids, July 28-29, at peak time should have approximately 20 bright, yellow meteors per hour.  Capricornids, July 29-30, at peak time approximately 15 meteors per hour often yellow in color, are also noted for brilliant fireballs.  Perseids, August 12-13, produces 60 meteors per hour which is fairly consistant year to year, if the weather is clear.

There will be a new moon on July 30 therefore the meteor watching will be optimum for July.  There will be no moon in the sky in the early morning, which is the best circumstances to watch for meteors.  Unfortunately, a full moon will occur on August 13 which will set in the western sky approximately 06:00.  I recommend making arrangements in July to watch the showers.  Even better is if you can be in an area that has little light pollution.  An undeveloped beach on the East Coast would be a great place.  Make plans now.  This is a great way to spend time with your child.

I have vivid memories of being awakened in the dark and traveling by car, to the New Jersey shore to go deep sea fishing.  The long drive on the old state highways riding over the expansion seams, thump-thump...thump-thump, still rings in my ears.  There were the bars along the roads lit with two colors of neon outlining the roof edge, each bar having a neon encircled clock.  I remember looking into the starry sky from the rear window of our Studebaker Champion with its suicide doors.   We listened to AM radio with reception going in and out the whole trip and strong static as we passed under high tension electrical lines completely drowning out the music.  Once we arrived at the marina, the absolute best part of the trip was going to a diner for breakfast.  Sitting at the counter on a shiny chrome stool with a red seat that spun around 360┬║.  Getting nickels from my dad to play music on the juke box before the food arrived.  Watching my dad eat his sunnyside up eggs.  Sliding each unbroken yolk into his mouth leaving no yellow on his plate to clean with his toast.  Then there was the smell of the salt marsh and the sounds of the gulls.  These sights, sounds and smells stick with me today.

You have a bit of time to arrange a trip such as this with your child before the weekend meteor showers of  July 29-30.  Get started today for tomorrow may never come.  Don't forget to take a camera.

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