Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Here Come the Meteors

A few times a year I manage to go to bed early enough that I can get up in the middle of the night and sit on my deck to watch meteors streak the sky. I normally wake up between five and six, so you wouldn't think it was that much of a stretch, but for some reason my body thinks three o'clock is much more unreasonable than five. 

This night's show is going to be more complex. Yes, there will be meteors. No one knows how many to expect. The Lyrid Meteor shower is an annual event caused when the Earth passes through a stream of dust in the tail of Comet Thatcher. (I wonder if it's Margaret.) I don't know much about comets and meteors. I just love how they look slashing through the night sky. I feel small and big at the same time, peaceful and whole, part of everything.

Venus and the crescent moon are mated in the sky right now, seeming to fly together. They're going to join in the show. Depending on your location, the moon is going to obscure Venus. It's an eclipse, except that it's the moon eclipsing a star other than our sun. Western North America will be able to enjoy the view. Pacific times zones should be watching by 5 a.m. to see Venus disappear. If I read the star charts right, which is not at all certain, it will be about 7:20 when it reaches my side of the Rockies. 

I'm going to go set up my blanket by the door to the deck and get my thermos lined up so I don't have to turn on too many lights when I wake up. I'm excited. I know, it doesn't take much.

No comments: