Saturday, May 24, 2014
Last night was a first-time ever Camelopardalid meteor shower (otherwise known as the Giraffe--though wouldn't you think camel, based on that name??). Anyway, I was really excited and couldn't wait to see it. It was only going to be visible in North America and no one really knew if it would be spectacular or only so-so. Some reports I read said there might even be colors from the hundreds of meteors expected per hour. I was more intrigued that the dust trail from the comet formed two centuries ago would be the meteors I would see in the night sky now. I love that thought.
So, I get out my tripod, the camera, a cozy thick blanket to sit on and leave everything at the back door. I'm prepared for an event that should be in full display mode sometime after midnight.
Midnight comes. I can hardly wait! Because I live up this mountain and my back deck overlooks the valley, I'm in total darkness at night. No streetlights, cars, city lights...nothing. Perfect for meteor watching. I glance up at the sky to decide where exactly I want to set up the camera and my cushy blanket.
No. No, no, hell no.
Clouds. Thick, dark, impenetrable frigging damn clouds! The nights have been brilliantly clear for...well, nights. Now the clouds roll in?
I set the alarm for 1:30. Stagger outside. Nothing but clouds.
I set the alarm for 2:30. Stumble outside. No visible stars, let alone meteors.
I set the alarm for 4:00. Look out the bedroom window. Give up in defeat.
This morning--cranky and tired--I get up, open the drapes...and see the most beautifully clear and sunny day you can imagine. Sigh.
Earlier today I was reading what other folks were able to see across the country, and looked at some great photos taken in Canada, though I also read that the amount of meteors was not as numerous as anticipated and one astronomer even said that they might be off a day or so in their calculations.
I was very happy to hear that plotting comet dust trails is apparently not an exact science after all.
Tonight I will try again. And hey, who needs sleep when it comes to watching dust, two centuries old, streak through the night sky...