The Ladies' Tea Guild

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

See the last of the Perseid meteors with a midnight tea party!

Wikipedia image. 2007 Perseid meteor shower.
While the Perseid meteor shower has already seen its peak activity, the show is supposed to continue through the rest of this week. Summer night-time temperatures are deliciously cool so why not pack some warm blankets, lawn chairs, a midnight snack and thermos of hot tea tonight, and go away from the city to see the shooting stars? A more robust brew, 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? This is a perfect time to go to your tea party cupboard and put together an impromptu midnight tea party!

According to the Yahoo news feed, “the best location is far from city and suburban lights. Ideally, find a structure, mountain or tree to block the moon. Then scan as much of the sky as possible. The meteors can appear anywhere, heading in any direction. If you trace their paths backward, they'll all point to the constellation Perseus. ... Seasoned skywatchers advise using a blanket or lounge chair for comfort, so you can lie back and look up for long periods. Allow at least 15 minutes for your eyes to fully adjust to the darkness. Then expect meteors to be sporadic: You might see two in a row, or several minutes could go by between shooting stars.”

I was able to stand in my back yard last Wednesday and saw over 20 meteors in one hour, which was more than I had ever seen! I would have stayed longer, but I got a crick in my neck from looking up. I recommend a lawn chair, or blanket to lie on, to other star-gazers! If you can't get to the country, you can set up a lawn chair and bring your tea onto your own front or back yard, and see what you can see. Tents and sleeping bags optional. Relive some of your childhood and spend some night time gazing at the stars!

“Observing the Perseids”
San Jose Astronomical Association
“Preparing for Perseids 2009: meteor shower or meteor storm?”
“Skywatchers to see streaking meteors”

Other tea party themes:
1940s' Economy Tea
Charity Fundraiser Tea
Last-Minute Tea Party

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Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)