The Perseid meteor shower is expected to occur between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. every night this week, with the greatest activity between midnight and 5 a.m. tonight and tomorrow! If you have a good place to lie down in your front of back yard, that’s the most convenient place to watch the show. Why not grab some blankets, lawn chairs, a midnight snack, some hot or iced tea or chai tonight, and make yourself comfortable? If you want a better view, you can also go up into the hills east of San Jose and Milpitas, to see the shooting stars. A robust black tea, like a strong Assam or Irish Breakfast, with a good amount of caffeine to keep you awake long enough to see the meteors, would be a good idea. Not sure what snacks to bring to the party? This is a perfect time to go to your tea party cupboard and get something tasty!
We all know that if you want to see the stars clearly, you have to go where it’s dark. If you’re near downtown San Jose, there may be too much light for you to see the meteors from your home; in that case it’s time to head for the hills. If you’re in East or North San Jose, near the foothills, you’ll probably be able to see a lot of meteors from your own place. Areas away from the lights of the city include Mt. Hamilton, Coyote Park and Joseph D. Grant County Park, Houge Park (Twilight @ White Oaks, Near S. Bascom North Of 85) and the Bernal-Gulnac-Joice Ranch (Camino Verde and Manila Drive, Santa Teresa County Park). You might also be able to go into the foothills east of Milpitas, or on Alum Rock road, although Alum Rock Park will be closed 30 minutes after sunset. Be aware that all city parks close at dusk, so you should call the San Jose Parks and Recreation during their office hours to see if any parks will have extended hours for the Perseid meteors. You can check the San Jose Astonomical Association’s website for more tips, or even join a NASA chat session!
This year there is a full moon, as well, so while it may make it harder to see the meteors, the moonlight will be beautiful in its own right, and well worth gazing at. There are several options for stargazing in the San Jose area, so why not get out the map and find some place? Call around to the big county parks and see if you can enter them before they close for the night, and leave much later. Or, you can set up a lawn chair and bring your tea onto your own front or back yard, and see what you can see. Relive some of your childhood, camp out with a midnight picnic, and spend some night time gazing at the stars!
Copyright 2011, Elizabeth Urbach.
For more information:
“What should I keep in the pantry for tea parties?”
“Bring along a tea party as you watch the Orionid meteor shower in October”
“Fill the time waiting for your Twilight Saga: Eclipse tickets with a midnight tea picnic”
“Iced tea and how to make it”
“What you need to make a good pot of hot tea”
“Enjoy San Jose’s harvest moon with some hot tea”
“Meteor-watching in San Jose? Keep warm with tea and snacks”
“Here’s how to put on a Twilight themed midnight tea picnic”
“Review of Tazo Organic Spiced Black Tea Latte concentrate”
“Perseid meteor shower light show peaks tonight”
“Amazing Perseid meteor shower images”
“NASA Chat: Stay up all night to watch the Perseids!”
“Observing the Perseids”
San Jose Astronomical Association
“Perseid Meteor Shower: Best Times to Spot ‘Shooting Stars’ This Week”
“2011 Meteor Showers” from StarDate