It was one of the rare goals of summer that I actually pulled off at our house: last night was the peak of the Perseid meteor showers, and my 9-year-old and I stayed up for it. In all honestly, it neared being a bust, clouds drifted overhead frequently, and he was so sleepy (I actually let him fall asleep outside, then went out and woke him at midnight for viewing) that I think he only clocked one or two meteors. But it’s already clear that he remembers it as magical.
The Perseids peaked last night, but it takes several weeks for the earth to pass through the meteor shower from the tail of the Swift-Tuttle comet, so if you’re so inclined, tonight would still be good viewing. Last night came in at about 40 “shooting stars” per hour (which meant I saw 6 or 7, and Sam probably two, but we would have done better had it been clearer). They’re best in the pre-dawn hours, so it might even be worth it to wake up rather than staying up (painful though that sounds). Tonight the meteors will be slightly fewer and far between, but your kid is still pretty much guaranteed to get at least one “shooting star” to wish on.
Read the rest on Slate’s XXFactor, or just stay up tonight and watch. Even though we didn’t see that many stars, I felt like I got my wish.