Fun without Electricity: The Perseid Meteor Shower
A Perseid fireball photographed August 12, 2006, by Pierre Martin of Arnprior, Ontario, Canada
We can't forget the fifth grader who said "I like to play indoors better 'cause that's where all the electrical outlets are." This weekend kids can see a show better than anything powered by an electrical outlet, some real TreeHugger fun, the Perseid meteor shower. It happens every year around August 12, but is often washed out by the moon. This year should be perfect: there is not much of a moon, and Mars is just below Perseus, giving you a great target. (the meteors are all over the sky, but all seem to radiate from Perseus). The peak will be Sunday night midnight through Monday morning at 2:00 AM (all times local) where you might see 60 meteors an hour.
Of course, it is better if you can get away from the City, and it is better if you are up at 2:00 AM. However that is the peak, and it builds up to it over a couple of days, so even Saturday night will be great- that is when we will be out, lying on the dock all night and counting meteors.
The meteors are from comet Swift-Tuttle, as the earth moves through its tail. as Dr. Tony Phillips of NASA says:
It's something to think about at four in the morning, with Mars rising in the east, meteors flitting across the sky, and a summer breeze rustling the legs of your pajamas.