Cris the astrophysicist? Meteor Shower say what? huh?

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Sorry I don’t usually post two topics in a day, but I figured this is important, it’s free you can do this with the entire family, while eating marshmellows or drinking wine celebrating your 12 year anniversary. Early I was reading a story and the point of it was, while we may want those high tech gadgets and get them, after a while it becomes boring to us, but when we make those family vacations or daycations, we create something that lasts a lifetime memories, you can always recall those great family moments, but those high tech gadgets usually gets outdated or we loose interest…ANYWHO that’s my moral for today and why I am interrupting your daily schedules with TWO BLOG POSTS.

While I was in college I worked in the Physics Department and I learned a few things or two about physics and astronomy. That sounds kinda impressive, “Astrophysics”.  So I am a NASA nerd, I love the space program, I love going to NASA in FL, I loved being able to go to the Shuttle Launch with my kids!

My goal is to let me kids watch the meteor showers tonight. The annual Perseid meteor shower peaks tonight into early Sunday morning and if the sky above you is clear you are sure to enjoy a spectacular astronomical show. While the Perseid’s are the main billing tonight, there are a few other players on the stellar stage. So you say WHERE IS IT? I found this cool graphic below for you to see. Look to the east early tomorrow morning before dawn as Jupiter, then the moon and finally Venus will rise, creating a nice diagonal line. Of course with any of these events in the sky the weather is the most important variable.
It won’t matter how great the meteors are if it’s overcast. Much of Texas, the Ohio Valley, Tennessee, the northern parts of Alabama, Mississippi and the Rockies look to have favorable sky conditions. parts of Florida and a good deal of the West Coast will also be mainly clear. But this year’s display is expected to be especially spectacular due to a number of factors, including a crescent moon. At the shower’s peak, the shooting stars could arrive a a rate of as many as 100 per hour, according to NASA

If you are watching the show with kids you can have them try to find a satellite while waiting for a meteor. What is a satellite? Satellites are quite easy to spot as they look like shooting stars but move across the sky at a much slower speeds. It can take a minute or more for a satellite to cross your field of view.  Tonight going into the earlry hours on the 12th, expect about 25-60 meteors per hour. You won’t see the meteors evenly spread out over time. You may see nothing for five minutes and then four or more in a row a minute later. Lie on a blanket and look up rather than stand. If you stand with your neck tilted up, you will have neck issues in the morning. On Sunday night, heading into the morning of the 13th there will be fewer meteors per hour, but still a nice show. The best time to see this will be around 2AM-3AM TONIGHT, but if you don’t want to wait till then it’s still worthwhile once it gets dark.  
So if you want you can help capture data for NASA.  You can download an app “Meteor Counter” for free in the Android Marketplace and Apple’s App Store and then report the data. You can even “Tweet” your findings using the hashtag symbol # and the keyword perseids.

Guess who has two thumbs, and will be counting meteors? This Girl!!!!!

STS-134 Final Flight of Endeavour (JOURNEY) Part 1

We got lucky when the National Military Family Association sent out the email that they had an opportunity for military families to participate in the viewing of the shuttle Launch Endeavour. We originally had planned to go on April 19, however they canceled that flight due to weather problems, so they rescheduled it for April 29. 2011! Yippee it falls over the weekend!So you all know we went to DC on Monday, was really debating on whether to go or not. You don’t know how I was debating on making this decision, I so don’t like taking last minute trips with kids. So I was like this is a once in a life opportunity, I can’t miss this, plus this is a GREAT story for my kids to tell! WOW! So anyway we leave Thursday morning at 4am. I wanted to get our before the storm hit, that was coming across the Southern states. So as we scoot down the road, I think we were about 1 hr ahead of the storm, as we crossed into SC it was dark, and around 68 miles before we got to GA we heard there was a tornado in Darlington SC.  Whew just missed that! So while we are getting to the hotel, my mom asks, “is this a hotel chain or a mom an pop hotel” I was like well it’s called The Peabody. I never heard of it, and she was like Oh LORD here were go again! Last summer we went to Kure Beach, and stayed at the this hotel, it looked AWESOME from the internet, but it was a piece of CRAP room, it looked like the bed bugs was running off with the furniture! I was like well we gonna stay at the beach and not the room. It was really brightly colored and looked NICE! However it was grimy and yucky. (That’s for another blog) she was like Crystal why didn’t you book us at the HOJO or Holiday Inn. I was like well this is where the conference is, and I didn’t want to drive to the hotel. So as we were talking I was like what’s that a Duck Hotel, and sure enough it was the Peabody, biggest hotel on the strip! I was like naaa it wouldn’t be yucky, b/c look at it! It was something from Las Vegas! So we get there and WOW IT WAS GORGEOUS! I give this hotel 5 stars!
 So we get to Orlando around 1:30pm, I drove the entire trip. We get to the hotel, check in and then head over to NASA STS-134 Pre Launch activities. The kids got these really cool NASA backpacks, with pictures of the crew and space shuttle and everything in it. So we go and do some preregistration activities with the astronauts and the kids made a moon buggy out of Oreos, and graham crackers. They also made straw rockets. I think I am going to do a space themed for Brandon’s Bday party! It was some great ideas for kids to make. We made a trip to Walmart, of COURSE we had to go to Walmart. What trip wouldn’t be right with out a visit to the neighborhood Walmart. So everyone I talked to was like you aren’t So after that we finally got our hotel room YES! It was HUGE and spacious, we had a TV in the bathroom, yet right in the mirror, pretty nice hotel and huge. It took up the entire block. So we go and do some pre registration activities with the astronauts and the kids made a moon buggy out of Oreos, and graham crackers. They also made straw rockets. So after that we finally got our hotel room YES! It was HUGE and spacious, we had a TV in the bathroom, yet right. They even had bathrobes for us, and a fridge and I mean WOW I felt like I was so rich! If this is what the rich and famous feel like, I want to do this every day! This is a picture of it but it doesn’t do it justice, this is just one side (where the DUCKS live) Yes I said REAL LIVE DUCKS! Every day at 11 and 5 they have a duck ceremony, and they walk the ducks down to the duck pond in the hotel, I mean it is a grand event!
Even though I didn’t have a lot of cash, I valet parked the car because I just couldn’t drag all three of my kids through traffic to get to the car. So that was my one splurge, I felt so VIP, “calling to the valet” can I get my car! I made three trips to just drive down the street, so I could get the car, they are TOTALLY nice at the PEABODY the mirror, pretty nice hotel and huge It took up the entire block.
I felt like royalty! So anyway back to day one, we didn’t go back to the afternoon session, because my kids were exhausted so we went to the pool to relax! So it wasn’t so relaxing for me. My two older kids are ok, they know not to run or whatever. So my SON, being the all boy he is, is like psssh I can swim. So he starts to chase his sister, and what happens he gets off balance and then falls right under the water. So I am a good 20 feet from him, and my mom was closer, and I was like “Momma get Brandon” yeah all southern sounding and all. LORD he started screaming b/c he couldn’t get up, so then he gets water all in his mouth, so I get to him, and he’s ok. So I am like ok BRAN don’t get out of my mommy zone. Phhh hahah didn’t work he fell under the water two more times. So I was like let’s get out and go eat. Whew that HOTEL was a nice rate but they didn’t rate the food! 2 Lemonades, and 1 fruit salad was $21 bucks. Yeah I was like gaa kill me, so we had pizza delivered. Which wasn’t the best. So after we had dinner, I wanted to take the girls back to the pool. So I finally got Bran to sleep, and we went back to the pool for a hour. They were having some sort of dinner but, the girls still had a great time playing in the water. However the person who was singing was kind of sad and had no rhythm. So we had a nice time at the pool and then we went back to the room to get ready for tomorrow’s NASA trip. We are totally excited. Ok so I will blog tomorrow about the next day’s trip to NASA!