Friday, August 12, 2016

Under Our Dome of Shooting Stars

We set the alarm clock for midnight.  We knew there was no way we'd manage to stay up so late, especially on a work night, and thought a little "nap" might help.  When the alarm sounded in the dark I was thoroughly confused--until I remembered the reason behind such craziness as purposefully waking oneself from a comfortable sleep in the middle of the night.  The Perseid meteor shower was well underway and we wanted to experience the wonder.

The night before we'd set out west of town to take in the stars, but it was barely 10:00 pm and not nearly dark enough for a proper viewing.  We each saw a handful of very small meteors--the size of your average, every-day type of shooting star--and then called it a night, declaring to do better the next day.  We needed to get out after the dark had had longer to settle its blanket over everything.  We needed to get out after midnight.

Now I can stay up dancing all night long if the music is good.  In the comfort of my quiet home, kitty on my lap, book in hand, etc.....sigh...I am ready for bed well before midnight.

I can now attest that an alarm clock is quite jarring at midnight, particularly after just a few hours of rest.  Still, with excitement about this cosmic dance we rose, heated tea, grabbed some blankets and pillows, and set off into the night for a second try at star-gazing.

After we'd lay there under the sky for a half hour or more, our eyes adjusted well to the darkness.  The Milky Way streamed overhead, punctuated with meteor after meteor after meteor.  I had intended to keep count, but quickly lost track.

My eyes strained to become a wider lens, able to take in as much of the sky as possible.  The meteors zipped by in the corner of my eye, falling from directly overhead, plunging into the Big Dipper.  Where to look?!  Where to look?!

In addition to myriads of the smaller, more every-day sized shooting stars (the ones you might see in the yard and make a wish upon) there were dozens and dozens of substantial, bright meteors that briefly lit their entire corner of the sky.  It was dazzling to watch as their fiery tails lingered and then faded after them, momentarily leaving an impression of their path across the sky before dissolving into the ebony backdrop again.

It felt like observing a miracle.  A miracle shared by so many people in so many places and times.  What a gift!  Tired or not today, we are contemplating going out again tonight....

6 comments:

  1. Meteor showers are amazing...we used to see 'falling stars' all the time in ND...the sky was just so clear and no light pollution...
    when we lived in WV I was walking with my neighbor one evening and she said she'd never seen one...and lo and behold...a meteor rocketed across the sky...it was amazing...

    ~Have a lovely day!

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    1. Wow. I love it when we're sent such perfectly timed signs as that. Also, imagine! No shooting stars!! It would be like line from Rocky Mountain High about being a poorer man for never seeing an eagle fly. So many blessings I've had!!

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  2. It would be so nice to see this someday! I am extremely near-sighted and wear contacts. I don't have a pair of glasses, so I'd have to get the lenses in... And I often have to get up early, so - it hasn't happened yet. :(

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    1. Things I'd have never thought about as obstacles to bearing witness to this! I hope you get to someday!

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  3. We stayed up for the Perseids Shower a little while back may have even been around the same time. We got some photographs that I hope to share before the year ends as I never to them earlier, truly amazing - magical

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    1. I hope to see your photos. I wonder if it was the same shower we both saw--wouldn't that be neat?!

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