THE SKY IS CALLING: Slow Down For Meteor Showers

I would not be denied.

The universe had a message and I wanted to catch every inflection. Oh, I need to get up at 5:00 in the morning in order to see the best part? Watch me put my insomnia into a headlock for one night, insuring that I can get up on time. Cranky kids that don’t know what the big deal is & would rather stay hugging there beds? I’ve conquered heavier resistance on the first day of school. Wife is just humoring my childhood obsession with the night’s sky? I’ll try to not look too smug after the show begins. Early snow on the ground? Whatever, Philly. As long as the sky is clear, I don’t care how cold it is.

Alas, it was time for the Geminids.

Named after the appearance of originating from the constellation Gemini, this annual meteor shower puts on quite a show. With my family by my side, we all stared into the morning’s sky and took in countless meteors. I had never been so successful at viewing them, even able to point them out to my toddler daughter sitting on my shoulders. All of us got a chance to see several streakers, with an occasional fireball rocking our worlds with their brighter burns and longer tails. Soon, after an hour of taking in all that the Geminids could give, we retreat back home for hot chocolate and cartoons. As you can see, this is one of my absolute fondest experiences. After that, just point out the waxing and waning of the moon became easy topics of discussion among us.

Why do I care about celestial events? Being completely biased, I find them to be immensely fascinating and humbling. The bodies involved are unfathomably large, the coordination required borders on miraculous and the rarity makes each one treasures to behold. I almost feel spoiled this month, taking in the Perseids meteor shower this weekend and a friggin' total solar eclipse a week later.

It’s also about reminding myself to have patience. I’m old enough to have been around when Halley’s comet visited our neck of the solar system in ‘86. No matter how much I watched my beloved Star Hustler for instructions on how to catch a glimpse, it was all for nothing. The comet ended up on the opposite side of the sun, resulting in the worst viewing in 2,000 years. My young, budding astronomer heart was crushed, knowing that it wouldn’t be around again for 76 years. That hurt was exacerbated during the recent underwhelming string of comets, which turned out to be one disappointment after another. The Carolina skies had other ideas, blocking my view with overcast each time, comet PanSTARRS be damned.

Ah well. I’ll just catch Halley’s in 2061 with my great grandkids. Patience...

Do you enjoy watching celestial events?
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