According to the National Day Calendar, June 30th is National Meteor Watch Day. It's a day that “people turn their eyes to the heavens in hopes of spotting the glow of a falling star.” It's also a great day for your Cub Scouts to check off some requirements while they look for meteors.
Tigers can mark off one of the requirements for the elective adventure, Sky is the Limit, and Wolves, Bears and Webelos can complete a requirement for the Out of this World Nova award.
Tiger Sky is the Limit Requirement 1: With your den or adult partner, go outside to observe the night sky. Talk about objects you see or might see.
Nova Out of this World Requirement 3: Choose TWO from A or B or C or D or E or F and complete ALL the requirements for the options you choose.
A. Have a star party with your den, pack, or family. (Make sure you wear proper clothing for the nighttime temperature.)
1. Choose a clear night to investigate the stars. A fun time to watch stars is during a meteor shower. You may check http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials with your parent’s or guardian’s permission to find good times to watch meteors.
2. Find five different constellations and draw them. With your parent’s or guardian’s permission, you may use a free smartphone application such as Google Sky Map for Android phones or Night Sky for iPhones to help identify stars and constellations.
3. Share your drawings with your counselor. Discuss whether you would always be able to see those constellations in the same place.
Your Cub Scouts may want to learn about meteors before they head out. Below is a list of some good online resources I found.
- This website offers a very good explanation of the differences between a comet, an asteroid, a meteoroid, a meteor and a meteorite.
- NASA's site describes what a meteor shower is.
- The Scholastic blog describes some fun activities you can do on National Meteor Watch Day.
- Find out when to watch for meteors here.
Here's one thing that I find interesting. The National Day Calendar website describes the day, but they say, “Within our research, we were unable to identify the creator of National Meteor Watching Day.”
Meteor showers occur about the same time every year. Smithsonian Magazine offers an explanation for this (it's the second question). June 30th isn't one of those times. I wonder if a non-astronomer picked the day. 🙂
Even though your Cub Scout won't see a meteor shower, he might still see one or two meteors. And he'll get the opportunity to observe the sky with all its stars. If you do this, don't forget to mark off those Tiger and Nova requirements!
Will your family be outside on National Meteor Watch Day?
Yours in Scouting,
P.S. Learn about other fun ways to complete Tiger requirements!