Monday, August 13, 2007

Meteor shower shows few meteors

So did anyone see much of the meteor shower promised for last night?

The Perseid meteor shower usually treats us around this time of year, and this year the media had played up it could be as many as 60 meteors per hour at its peak time, and would be better than last year because no moon would compete with the wonderful sky show.

We were told in this part of the country that between midnight and 3 a.m. last night would be the best viewing times.

Unfortunately, yesterday evening was quite cloudy here. I finally decided to go to bed and get up in the wee hours to see if the skies had cleared up.

At 1:45 a.m., I stumbled out of bed, shook off heavy eyelids, and grabbed a blanket to wrap myself up in as I went out to the deck to sit in a lawn chair and gaze high in the sky. Frogs merrily croaked all around.

During the first 10 minutes, it was impressive, with probably about a dozen very bright falling stars and a few fainter ones overhead streaking in all directions.

Perhaps I should have given up after that.

I continued to eagerly sit outside and wait for more meteors. And waited. And waited. My neck got sore from twisting and turning it in all directions attempting to spy another meteor. I was outside until almost 3 a.m. and in that time I saw … one more meteor. That was it. I was disappointed that I didn’t even spot any planes during that time. The frogs even stopped croaking and fell asleep themselves.

I thought back to several years ago, during one of the best meteor showers I had ever witnessed with my family. My father had awakened us in the middle of the night and my parents assigned my brothers and me to different windows at different sides of the house for a couple of hours. The night seemed magical as so many meteors rained down through the skies. Every so often one of us would shout as a super brilliant meteor was spotted, its long tail trailing.

We occasionally switched windows, and pointed out stars to each other. Our favorite word that night was “WOW!”

I recall that night, long after everyone had gone back to bed, I stayed with my face pressed against the cool glass still watching and waiting. When finally I couldn’t see any more for an extended period of time, I gave up and went to bed myself.

Now, years later, I still wait for a similar replay. I still yearn to see so many meteors that it is hard to count them all.

Last night was not one of them, unfortunately. But I knew next time there was a meteor shower, I’d again be checking the skies.

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