Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Serendipitous Shooting Stars

This morning about four, I got up to let a dog out. Returning to the bedroom, I paused by a window to look at the sky -- crystal clear and bright with stars. And immediately a shooting star drew its pencil streak of light at the edge of my vision. And then another. And another. At last I remembered -- it's time for the Perseid meteor shower !

It used to be a thing we planned for, every August 11, but the past few years we've had overcast skies or full moons -- plus our NPR station no longer plays the Stardate program -- and the Perseids had just slipped my mind. What joy to find that I was awake and the stars were shooting, just outside the bedroom window!

I pulled on a robe and stepped outside to the deck. Three, four, five, meteorites. About one a minute. It was absolutely magical -- but right chilly and I was getting a crick in my neck. I stayed till I'd counted nine -- a good magical number -- and went back to bed.

How I wish I could have gotten pictures of a shooting star but it's beyond my capabilities -- you'll just have to imagine -- the dark coolness of the night and the eerie silence as another jet of light etches a brief path across the vault of heaven.

Tonight our sky is overcast -- no chance of more meteorite viewing. Thank goodness for the dog who got me out of bed!

Tomorrow I'm heading to the middle of the state to take part in a mini-mystery tour. I doubt I'll be posting while I'm away but I should be back Saturday night with stories to tell.
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Pat in east TN said...

I was up and about at 5:15 this morning thanks (???) to my pup and noticed how clear the skies were and that there were more stars out then what I've seen in a long, long time ... didn't notice any meteorites though. Darn!

It was a tradition when my boys were younger that we would take blankets out and lay and watch the meterorites ... what a kick they got out of that. It was always around the time their school year started, but I bent the rules for this special time.

We're all overcast here too, so I'm out of luck too.

Susan M. Bell said...

What a great thing to wake up to. Makes the getting up so early worth it.

Have a great and safe "mystery tour."

Liz said...

http://skytour.homestead.com/met2008.html Vicki, This is a link to a meteor website that is a good source of information. Saturday night I was watching in Wisconsin (in the middle of nowhere)and saw three meteors in ten minutes. It was so clear I could see the Milky Way and the Perseids following its path. I'm hoping the skies clear here tonight as there are still plenty of meteors to see even though it's past peak. Did you know there is a white star that orbits Sirius (the Dog Star) that has surface matter so dense that one teaspoon of it would weigh one-ton on Earth! Any how do they know that anyway? Best to you ~Liz

Vicki Lane said...

Hey, Liz, Great website! Thanks for the link.

You're right -- how DO they know that?