’ll bet that after a night of seeing cup handles on Saturn and seas on the moon, Galileo slept in.
For the Perseid Meteor shower, JB and I linked up with a couple of CFAS members over at the Geneva gun range. I got about three hours of laying down in the evening before heading over (couldn’t drop off to sleep – my brain was cycling at 100hrz and my stomach was tossing about those broccoli quesadillas). So with the lawn chairs loaded in the mini, we left the house at 12:15am and got to the site at the end of a murderously washboarded road by 1am.
There were a couple of astronomy club members there and an SUV fulla perky kids and harried adults. No matter. Got out of the car, looked up, and saw my first stone of the night sizzle past, east to west, leaving an incandescent trail just like Well’s Martian cylinders. Wow.
So we settled in and looked up into reasonably dark and happily clear skies. The moon had just left the heavens, granting us a glorious view of the Milky Way. Checked out Cygnus the swan and Cassiopeia. Located the double cluster and someone pointed out Andromeda with a laser pointer (the kids mistook it for a meteor and went crazy at first). But really, Jane and I settled in, looking at the Pleiades jewels, the sweep of our on-edge galaxy and more stars than I’ve seen in a long time. Orion, my old friend, rose to the east and I checked out his nebula – he’s been away for quite some time. Even had one meteor smoke through my binoculared field of vision – wow!
Anyway, it was fun watching the stones fall – figuring we saw around forty or fifty meteors. And it was so engrossing to lay under that brilliant star field that the wife and I remained until almost 5am.
So there you go – one of the best viewing nights I’ve had in a long time, even though I left $800 in telescope at home and swept the skies with binoculars.
If you didn’t see it, you missed a great show!
But it was a long, long day at work…