Thursday, December 13, 2012

To Infinity, and Beyond

Hale-Bopp Comet
I’ve always been fascinated with astronomy and have on occasion purposefully stayed awake to watch an eclipse. In 1997 I was captivated by the Hale-Bopp Comet that seemed to hang directly in front of my mom’s house for weeks.  I would sit on the front porch staring at it in the evenings, mesmerized by the SciFi wonder of it all (until those nut-jobs of the Heaven’s Gate Cult had to go and tarnish it for me, thanks a lot you bunch of crazies).
I’ve seen shooting stars and can name a fair number of the constellations, but I have never seen a meteor shower… until today! I woke up extra early this morning hoping to catch a glimpse of the Geminid Meteor Shower that is supposed to light up the winter sky on December 13 and 14. So at 4:45AM this morning I was bundled up in my car, facing East hoping, and waiting…then waiting some more.  After about 30 minutes of nothing I was about to give up when I caught it out of the corner of my eye, going right to left, a  bright green ball with a yellow glowing streak behind it.  I was amazed at how incredibly bright it was, almost like a flare gun, and so pretty! It sailed across the sky for about 5 seconds before it fizzled out. 
I sat in my car for about 10 minutes afterward, hoping for another one to come streaming by, but mainly to ponder how excited and wonder-struck I was to have witnessed it, frankly I just felt satisfied.   Being that tonight will be a very late night for me (it is of course the opening night of The Hobbit movie) I will definitely be taking full advantage of every opportunity that presents itself to catch another showing of nature’s firework display!  To Infinity, and Beyond! Happy viewing everyone.

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