Verdana">It’s August. Do you know where your fireworks are? Look up in the nighttime sky and catch the free “fireworks” when the Perseid meteor showers produce its annual sparkling show. The Perseids start in late July and end in late August, but the prime time to see them is Aug. 1 to 12 when they peak.
Verdana">Just what are the Perseids? Check out Space.com for a primer of what meteor showers are and why these particular ones are called the Perseids. Then skysurf to www.space.about.com where you’ll find free sky maps to download.
Astronomy magazine (www.astronomy.com) has a good overview of meteor showers and some suggestions on how to view them: lying down and dressed warmly. Since the meteors are best seen between 2 and 4 a.m., prepare a homemade cocoa mix ahead of time. Whole Foods Market offers an organic recipe with several twists to spice it up.
Verdana">The August showers can lead kids to explore other aspects of astronomy. Learn all about our solar system and deep space at KidsAstronomy.com. The site includes free online classes, worksheets to print out and an astronomy dictionary.
Young astronomers can explore NASA’s StarChild site. A printable version of each page is available and the “In the Classroom” section provides activities for teachers that families can do together. NASA’s
Capture the cosmos on the Amazing Space site, which provides dozens of interactive explorations. For links to several other kid-friendly astronomy sites, visit the A to Z Homes’ Cool Homeschooling site.