It’s a bit chilly to be sleeping outside, but the view makes it worth it. Tonight is the peak of the Delta Aquarids meteor shower and it coincides nicely with the very start of the Perseids meteor shower which we camped out for two years ago.

Starlit sky, Mountain Top, northern NSW, July 2014
I didn't capture any shooting stars in the camera's frame tonight, but we saw so many that we lost count!

Three of their friends joined my girls and me on mattresses at the edge of the rural property where we had a good view of the sky. We used extra blankets to stay warm, but the evening is still quite mild for mid-winter. I enjoyed listening to the kids tell funny or spooky stories to each other, interspersed with exclamations of “I saw a shooting star!”.

I had some ideas earlier of using the time for a more formal astronomy lesson, but the kids were in a silly mood and took pleasure in making up their own constellations. And that’s really what early astronomers did anyhow. It just happens that they’ve written down the configurations and names that are passed on through the generations, and my daughter’s pig constellation is no less valid in an artistic sense.

It’s fun to sleep outside as a group, and even better when we see so many meteors! If you’re keen to catch some for yourself, the Perseids continue to fall through the sky until the end of August, with its peak between 10-13 August. Grab a friend and a blanket, a kid or two if you want extra fun, and start making wishes!