How To Throw A Last-Minute Perseids Meteor Shower Viewing Party, Because You're Not Going To Want To Miss This Star-Studded Event
Attention, fans of beauty, wonder, etc.! The annual Perseids meteor shower will reach its apex tonight, with up to 100 shooting stars per hour visible in a moonless sky. That makes tonight (specifically early Thursday morning, at about 3 a.m.) the best time to see Perseids meteors in almost a decade. That is, if you're not in New York City, like I am! So hey, if you live in a place where you can actually see the stars, here's how to throw a last minute- Perseids viewing party. It's not going to be this good again for a long time, so you'd best make the most of it.
I'm immensely jealous of everyone who is actually going to get some good star-watching in tonight (in New York City, you're lucky if you can see 10 stars, let alone thousands of falling ones), and all that frustration has got me daydreaming of what I would do if I wasn't in a light polluted hell hole. (Just kidding, New York is nice, except not tonight.) I imagine being in Joshua Tree National Park out West, camping out under a blanket, or being on a hammock in the backyard of my rural childhood home.
But I think what might really do if I was in a place to see the stars tonight is hold a party – me and a few friends forgetting about work the next day, having a sleepover like we're twelve, staring up at the universe and contemplating our place in it. Plus, like, themed drinks!
Are you in some bucolic wonderland and think this sounds like a great idea? Hear me out, as I do the planning for you while trying not to seethe from jealousy:
1. Set Up a Tent
The forecast is mostly rain-free across the country tonight, but just in case, you're going to want a place for you and your friends to seek shelter without going inside. Try stringing up outdoor Christmas lights and star garlands along the tent poles to make it extra magical (just remember to turn them off during prime star-watching time), and filling the tents with big puffy pillows and rugged blankets so all your guests can crash comfortably, whether they brought a sleeping bag or not.
2. Make Snacks and Drinks
Camping means s'mores, obviously, so that's one option if you have a fire pit, grill, or some other way to safely make a fire in your backyard. (Here are some ideas it you want to go beyond the typical Hershey's chocolate/graham cracker/marshmallow combo – some of the recipes you can even make indoors.)
For drinks, you're not going to get better than just sharing a flask or a bottle of wine with your friends, but if you want to make it a little fancy without much work, Kir Royales are sparkling (like the sky!), delicious, and easy.
3. Know What You're Looking At
Shooting stars seem like magic, but it can be cool to have some perspective from scientists on what actually is happening. Enter NASA, which will live stream the show with meteor experts from tonight into the morning.
The Perseids are an amazing, once-per-year experience, but the stars available for gazing in the sky every night aren't too shabby either. Learn about the constellations with an app like StarWalk 2 – just point your smartphone or tablet to the sky and be amazed at all that's up there.
4. Make a Wish
So this is a really twee idea, BUT: have everyone write down a "wish-upon-a-star" upon a slip of paper. Put the slips in a jar and open it next year during the Perseids to see if last year's star wishes came true. (I should be a wedding planner, right?)