Farty's Fortunes

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Tonight's The Night

"If the stars should appear just one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore!" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

I turned on the news for no good reason tonight. Lucky that I did, for I was abruptly reminded that the Perseid meteor shower was due about...now.

So of course I dashed outside, then dashed back inside and persuaded Mrs Farty to turn off all the lights. Embra is abominable for star-gazing as it is, no point making it harder for yourself.

Sure enough, there were clouds aplenty stretching from one horizon to the other, but one or two promising gaps opened up just as my eyes started to adjust to the dark. I watched and waited...and waited...and waited. To pass the time, I tried to see if I could identify any constellations. Fat chance, I could hardly see any stars, let alone groups.

I moved around, trying to find the best position not to be night-blinded by street-lights, security lights and house lights from the surrounding buildings. And then, just as the clouds began to close in once more, a solitary flash, a thin white streak across the southern sky, and it was gone.

Did I imagine it? Was I so desperate to see something that I just made it up in my head? I noted that it had come from the North-East, heading South-West and aligned with the right arm of that big 'W' shape. Dur, that would be Cassiopeia. Why didn't I notice that before?

Back indoors, a quick look at a star chart shows that the Perseids do indeed originate in the North-Eastern part of the sky. Excited? I'm like a dog with two tails!

Just going to grab a coat and nip back outside. Er, I may be some time.

Some meteors in 1833.


Well, I didn't imagine that one! The low-lying clouds had scattered by the time I finished my post, with just a thin haze of orange across the sky, so I lay on my back, put my arms behind my head and settled down. Within just five minutes a much longer streak shot across my view to the South-East this time, ending in a bright spark. This one seemed to come more from the North, I dunno. A few seconds later, I swear I heard the sound of distant thunder. I like this game!


Scotsman said...

I heard about that happening on the radio the morning before but as always when there is an astrological event that only happens overhead every so many years the sky was covered in clouds. With not a gap to be seen. So I never saw any meteor shower but I did get wet.
The previous few nights had been cloud free, of course.

Sewmouse said...

I remember one night in the late 1970's laying on the hood of Tom's Grand Prix parked in my dad's driveway with Tom and Susan and Scotty - and watching the most massive meteor shower I'd ever seen.

This was back when the hood of a Grand Prix could handle the weight of 4 people and was wide enough and had really no slope to mention...

BOSSY said...

Bossy saw a streak last night too - but it was just her naked husband emerging from the bathroom.

Cat said...

I must have missed this, but I did once see a shooting star an it was very cool. I made a wish. I can't remember if it came true or not, so it can't have been a life changing one...

Mr Farty said...

Scotsman - Astrological? Better not let Patrick Moore hear you use that word!

Ms Mouse - Last time I remember seeing a meteor was on the way home from the ice rink in *cough cough*. I was 14.

BOSSY - And did he have a heavenly body?

Cat - They should be visible again tonight, so get ready to make another wish!