July 28, 2008
Is Jupiter Moving?
In another act of extraordinary spontaneity, we took the kids (at the suggestion of Mr. Sleep-Deprived) to the Devil's Punchbowl, to view the Aquarid Meteor Shower. The park is very scenic (note the family photo), with a nice short nature trail for little ones, a wonderful small recreation room with live (caged) snakes, a real beehive, scorpion, velvet ant, and ironclad beetle. Outside there are also three live owls (two great-horned owls, one barn owl).
The meteor shower started around 9 pm. We were able to see Jupiter (gas clouds clearly visible) and three of its moons through an 11 inch telescope set up for viewing.
After seeing the first two meteors, our 6-year-old noticed that Jupiter's position was different and asked, "is Jupiter moving?" I responded that we were actually moving (because of the earth's rotation) and that was what was making it seem like Jupiter was moving across the sky. He responded with a very sincere and convincing, "OH, I GET IT!" Both Mr. Sleep-Deprived and I were quite impressed with his "a-ha" moment, until we saw him running from one spot to another noticing how its position was changing. I guess that would be a lesson in perspective.
It was a fun evening, and for being out so late past bedtime, it was well worth it. Kudos to Mr. Sleep-Deprived for scouting out the location and event.