If children in your home have had trouble staying in bed because it was still so light outside, there is hope for you. Today is the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, the turning point when all the days start getting shorter and kids stay in bed a little more easily. But it's not just about bedtimes. A solstice is a perfect time to introduce those non-sleepy kids to some basic astronomy and broaden their perspective on the universe.
You can't put it in your pocket, but there's just something about a falling star that makes you feel awed. Prepare yourself to be amazed at the night sky on August 12 and 13. The Perseid meteor shower is coming!
When I was a kid, I would spend a couple of days each August camped out in our back yard to watch meteor showers. They happened right around my birthday every year, and I thought that was very cool! It felt like one more really neat birthday present each year.
My interest in astronomy was first fueled by growing up under star-laden nights and watching the Aurora Borealis (the northern lights) dance across the heavens. That appetite was further whetted after discovering a book my father had. It was a 1928 edition of In Starry Realms by Robert S. Ball, Sr (1840-1913). Not expecting to find it still in print, I was thrilled to find it on WorldCat.