Almost a Backyard Campout: Trying to Watch the Camelopardalids Meteor Shower

Mom & Kids reading Astronomy book under the stars

We tried to observe the Camelopardalids Meteor Shower last night.  NASA’s information was clear that since nobody has seen the shower from this comet before, there was no way to know what to expect.  Also, the viewing map was clear that in our area of the Pacific Northwest, the weather wasn’t optimal.  We couldn’t make a little trip to some location out of town to view the night sky away from the city lights, like we used to when we drove our van.  In spite of being right in town, we can usually get a pretty good look at the stars.  We were determined to give it a try anyway.

A pup tent, which belongs in the top of my boy’s closet, appeared in the back yard a few days ago.  It’s bright nylon colors have been beckoning the kids to enjoy a back yard campout.  The meteor shower provided the perfect excuse.

From NASA’s website: A Possible New Meteor Shower: May Camelopardalids.  “Scientists anticipate a new meteor shower tonight: the May Camelopardalids, resulting from the dust of periodic comet 209P/LINEAR. No one has seen it before, but the shower could put on a prolific show.”

We read from lesson 8: Space Rocks in Apologia Astronomy by flashlight.





It did turn out to be a bad day for star gazing.  There was too much cloud cover to see stars during the time of the meteor shower.  We waited for a couple of hours, hoping it might blow over, but no luck.  The kids started dropping off to sleep.  My middle daughter stayed awake and we played with trying to take pictures at night.  Obviously we haven’t acquired any skill at Astrophotography.  We’ll keep trying!

Finally, it started sprinkling.  My middle daughter scurried to wake up the sleeping kids and move the camera, blankets, and everything else inside.


Ursa Minor (Little Dipper) without the cloud cover.
Ursa Minor

In typical opportunistic homeschool mom style, use the opportunity to learn across the board.  For instance, Vincent van Gogh‘s painting,  The Starry Night.

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