Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tidy Tuesday

Around here, the halcyon must not be interested in nesting, because we continue to have high winds and bouncy seas. It feels delicious and is supposed to be around until tomorrow or so...will I see a kingfisher to make it so?

The other night was the Geminid meteor peak. I thought I'd get up after some sleep, but instead was still very wide awake around midnight. I took my star-gazing cot to the top of the hill next to my yard with a light cover and pillow and my camera...in the absurd event I actaully could manage a shot of a falling star (yes yes I know it's dust, but frankly, the sky being swept of dust doesn't intrigue my mind soul nearly as much as falling stars - I'm not particularly ignorant, I just prefer magic).

(a fuzzy shot of Betelgeuse)

All the science space blogs were touting midnight to 3 a.m. as the peak viewing time. Unless they said 4. But I was quite content with whatever time I was out there. There were meteors that put shine on my face, they were so bright, with long blue or red or green forever lasting dashes across half the sky. There were some that only lasted half a blink, so pale and far up in the galaxy it could have been a hope more than a reality. Orion, that stand out hunter, grew almost invisible in the panoply of starry brightness surrounding him. For the FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE I think I saw every single star of his bow. And what they say is true....he's got a really big bow!

Ever feel like you'd love to learn to identify a few of the obvious constellations?
I love this site I just discovered. Basic? Yep. And your point would be....?

The word is that this was one of the brightest, bestest Geminid showers in many a year. The moon didn't try to hog the stage. The sky was clear as a bell around here after a heart stopping complete overclouding that only lasted a few minutes, just to make us flinch. The weather was cool and breezy. I watched, counted falling lights, dozed. An occasional mosquito would find my ear and bring my eyes open (and how does it find me? It's freaking 2 in the morning, on top of a hill in the middle of nowhere and this sucker can find my ear....call the Pentagon).

I tried, I really tried to get a photo of the wonder, that would make your jaw drop and having you gently pounding your head on your desk for not getting your lazy self out to see this yourself.
Something like this, a real photo of the real event
from the Chumack Observatory (yes, they have better cameras)

But alas. The only clear photo I got was this lousy cot shot.
Which sounds pornographic...and obviously is no such thing.

So until this dust strewn field passes away completely, we'll have the Geminids for years to come. And here's some more good news! There is still some activity going on....so if you are feeling sleepless and the sky is clear...go outside and catch the wonder! Put it in your pocket and save it for a rainy day...

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