Sunday, November 19, 2006

Shooting Stars

We set the clock for 3:45 a.m. to watch the meteor showers that were predicted early this morning. We were psyched when we went to bed, but when the alarm went off Jilda was less enthusiastic. "You go look and come back and get me if you see any," she yawned.
I stepped out on the porch and the air was cold but the sky was clear as crystal. I watched the night sky for a long while but I saw no shooting stars.
Sometimes you see them and sometimes you don't. The ones that were supposed to make an appearance last night were Leonid Meteors. They arrive every year around Nov. 17, when Earth passes close to the orbit of comet Tempel-Tuttle.
Meteor showers occur when the Earth passes through the trail of debris left by comets - clumps of ice and stony particles that become visible when they get near the sun. While Leonid is one of the more famous meteor showers and can be spectacular, its radiance depends on the year. I learned this from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Web site.
Several years ago when my nephews James and Haven still lived next door we spent a Saturday night watching meteors. We saw on the news where a shower was predicted so we got lawn chairs, popped up a bucket of pop corn, made some hot chocolate and watched them for hours. Some of the meteors shot by so fast that if you blinked your eye, you'd miss it. Others appeared like a slow pitched softball....natures fireworks extravaganza.
Last night as I stood out on the deck in my pj's freezing my butt off I did not see the first shooting star but that's OK. If you saw them all the time, they would no longer be special. Instead of being a thing of mystical beauty, they would become ordinary. Shooting Stars are a gift the good Lord provides to us free of charge and I would hate for Him to think I was ungrateful.

1 comment:

  1. I was out at night looking for them, too, but saw nary a one.


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