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Family fun: Watch the Perseid Meteor Shower

The closest I ever came to becoming an astronaut was reading my favorite astronomy book during my childhood: How do Astronauts Poop in Space? That’s right, I never really lived up to that “other-worldly” potential that my mom always talked about. Still, that never stopped me from admiring space from afar.

Which brings me to my point: The upcoming Perseid Meteor Shower! Now, before you go rushing to your basements in fear that Bruce Willis and his merry men will not be able to save us from this event, let me remind you that a Meteor Shower is not an asteroid – the villain of Armageddon {a movie that I absolutely hate by the way}. It’s also not the same as a comet. That’s a big ball of rock and ice from the outer solar system that leaves a trail of debris in its wake. It’s that debris though that leads to a meteor shower.
Perseid Meteor Shower _ Indy's Child

Every year earth passes through the trail of space pebbles left by the Swift-Tuttle comet. As you might imagine, that causes our atmosphere to become bombarded with rocks and our sky to will be peppered with a shower of 80 – 200 meteors per hour. So I warn you, don’t establish the precedent of singing “twinkle, twinkle” every time, cause you’re gonna end up singing it over 200 times. But this phenomenon is the Perseid Meteor Shower. And this year, the shower is expected to peak in the wee hours of the morning on August 12th.

Perseid Meteor Shower _ Indy's Child
So how do you get in on this cosmic light show? Head over to Holliday Park on Friday, Aug. 12 for some sweet family fun. Pun totally intended – my wife hates camping but loves s’mores. So if you are like her, this event is right up your ally. Roasting sticks, hershey bars and marshmallows will be provided, but bring your own baby wipes. The meteor shower may not be peaking, but you’ll still be guaranteed to get a good show. The campfire runs from 6:30-8pm and costs $5 per person. Registration is required so call {317} 327-7180 or visit hollidaypark.org.

ROAD TRIP: The Indiana Dunes will host a special viewing party on August 12 from 8-11pm CST. Join a ranger for a spectacular evening light show courtesy of the annual shower, and at one of the most beautiful spots on the planet no less – the Dunes! Call {219} 395-1882 for details.

If you’re already booked Friday night, no need to fret! You can still join the Taylor Center of Natural History from 9-10pm on August 13 for Astronomy in the Park. Located at one of my favorite places just north of Noblesville, Strawtown’s Koteewi Park. You’ll be in for a short hike and some of the best views thanks to it’s location being a little further from town. It’ll be a great place to introduce the kids to astrophotography. The cost is free but the park asks that you register in advance by calling {317} 774-2574 or emailing [email protected]

Perseid Meteor Shower _ Indy's Child

If you turn into a pumpkin at 7pm due to little ones, don’t even worry about it. The great thing about space is that it’s free for all. Head out to your back yard with a blanket, a snack and you’re beautiful understanding wife who totally realizes that you didn’t MEAN to leave your half eaten burrito under the couch…for a week… And enjoy some quiet time together watching from home. If you were really caught with a secret burrito stash, bring wine.

Perseid Meteor Shower _ Indy's Child

Now hopefully all this excitement has your kids feeling great about space. Follow up on this by taking them to an Indy icon. Did you know that Indiana has a giant telescope right in the heart of the city at Butler University? The Holcomb Observatory and Planetarium houses the ninth largest east of the Mississippi River. They periodically offer shows and telescope viewing. It’s a fun way to teach your kids about astronomy. Find each family member’s astrological sign the floor and then look for the corresponding constellation in the sky! The shows are $3 for adults and $2 for kids. Check out the schedule and details here. 
Perseid Meteor Shower _ Indy's Child
Don’t wanna close my eyes, don’t wanna fall asleep cause I’ll miss you baby… and you don’t want to miss this thing. Man, I hate that movie.

MORE INFO: The Perseid Meteor Shower runs July 17-August 24, 2016 but peaks on August 12th when Earth passes through the most dense area of the Swift-Tuttle Comet tail. This is when you will see the most meteors in the shortest amount of time. Binoculars are not required. This year the comet’s path is more crowded than usual, a phenomenon astronomers refer to as an ‘outburst,’ meaning viewers will see more meteors than usual. The recommended area to best see meteors is in a dark, remote location.

 

 

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