Meteor Showers #sol18


Meteor Showers #sol18

March 29, 2018

Yesterday on my drive home,  I listen to a report on NPR about a Japanese company that proposed to make meteor showers on demand.  For a fee,  you can schedule a personal meteor shower.  Here’s the story from NPR,  Why Scientists Aren’t Fans of Creating On-Demand Meteor Showers.

My little nuclear family has quite a history with meteor shower viewing of the natural variety.  Raising our children in Chicago,  the Field Museum was a frequent visiting place.  In the 1990’s,  the museum had quite few exhibits from its early days, one of which was a pretty impressive collection of meteorites.  One of the exhibits had a cross section of an actual car that was hit by a meteorite in 1938.

meteoriteThis is not a picture of my actual child, but it might as well have been for every visit to the Field included a viewing and discussion of that meteor.

Whether or not that viewing led to our collective fascination with annual meteor showers when the were reported in the news or not,  I’m not certain.  However,  the younger Kennedy’s wanted to see a meteor in the worst way.

As you might know, the Perseid Meteor Shower is usually visible in some way during the dog days of August,  so for many August nights, the boys and I cooked up schemes to actually see a meteor.  Some years the amount of meteors that fall are heavier than others.   A year or two, the two of them hatched a plan to sleep out in our yard or stay up all night.  The night was fraught with difficulties.  The midwestern humidity is high in the summer and the two of them decided we should put up our tent. It was too hot inside and of course,  they also couldn’t see the sky.  The sky in the Chicago suburbs,  even the far northern suburbs maintains a faint orange glow  most of the night, impairing your vision of the stars so in order to see any sign of stars you have to be up quite late.  Finally,  summer equals mosquitoes in the midwest and so everyone received a liberal dose of insect repellent that was quickly sweated off.  Complaining ensued,  general crabbiness and any given year one or both of them gave up the ghost before seeing anything.  Occasionally, the boys swore they saw some meteors especially the tent night when they were around 10 and 7.   So a habit was born.

The boys and I discuss the meteor showers every time one comes up. There are many meteor opportunities during the year,  all of them aren’t visible every where.  There’s also the problem of cloudy nights and/or rainy nights, so all toll,  we have probably been out scouring the sky for meteors a dozen times or more in the last 20 years.  Honestly,  most of the time unsuccessfully or marginally successfully.

Since the two of us moved to less a less photopolluted place,  we have attempted a few times to see meteors.  I have seen some.  Mr. K  not a fan of the long shot, doesn’t partake in the sky watching.  The boys and I still hold out hope.

When I told Mr. K the story of the purchased meteors,  he said, “You don’t have to buy me that. I’ve never seen one.”  While I don’t want a purchased meteor shower either,  I still have a hopeful eye to the sky when there’s a chance I might catch a glimpse of a natural occurrence.

So all that time,  my number 1 ever the sceptic and me ever the optimist.  I don’t think they were thinking meteors when they invented the phrase opposites attract.  But perhaps star-crossed lovers was meant just for this.


So close!   Day 29 of a 31 day Writing Streak as part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge.  For more interesting slices,  visit Two Writing Teachers.  

8 thoughts on “Meteor Showers #sol18

  1. What a wonderful memory. I felt like I was right there with all of you trying to catch the meteor showers which, you’re right, isn’t as always as easy to see as they make it sound. I enjoyed reading about your attempt to sleep outside to get a good view despite all of the challenges (loved that paragraph). We are fortunate to have the perfect view of the night sky. We live pretty far out and our night sky is gorgeous. I have friends who come from the city to hang out on our patio and always comment. Sometimes I forget the gift of the night sky until I hear them comment in wonder. I’ve always wanted to learn more about the night sky: the many moon phases, the constellations, the positioning of stars, and meteor showers, but I must admit for someone with my view I don’t know as much as I should. I learned a bit more, thanks to your post. I’m thinking this summer I should take up this challenge.

  2. I heard the same NPR story. I like your story so much better – the fascination with meteors, the longing to see them, the differences in people’s interests in the events, and the connection with love. You should consider sending this to NPR. I think they would like it! I’ll be listening.

  3. HA – loved the ending. Not what I expected — it definitely sent a message!! I have never seen a meteor – but I don’t think ordering one counts. Seems like cheating somehow.

  4. Like Clare, I have never seen a meteor. But I couldn’t help but be reminded of Patricia Polacco’s wonderful picture book, “Meteor!”. Such a great book, all about the community that seems to organically manifest around meteors. Your slice really reminded me of that same aesthetic, that same communal fascination that gives birth to viewings, museums, celebrations, relationships, etc. Very cool!

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