photo by evosia
In a few days, the dude and I will have been married twelve years. I can’t imagine someone more perfectly suited for exactly me, and am so thankful for all the grace and forgiveness he continually extends in my direction. It’s been twelve years, Dude. Thanks for still putting up with all my cuss.
Our anniversary (August 12) falls on the peak day of the annual Perseid meteor shower. For many years this coincided with the dude’s busiest time of year. Fourteen hour work days leave little time for anniversary celebrating. But he’d by out by 10pm, and even such a long work day didn’t prevent us from sneaking out in the middle of the night to see the streaking beauties. We’d drag ourselves out of bed at 3am or so and head out in the the quiet for our corner lot in the country. It wasn’t really ours, of course, but on the morning of August 12th every year, it belonged to us.
Some years, when the moon was nearly full, or the clouds were out, or there just wasn’t much activity, we had only conversation to show for our effort. But other years it was the sky that just wouldn’t shut up.
That’s how it is with meteor showers. Some nights tragic. Some nights magic.
On one particular occasion (not during the Perseids), the sky exploded. We decided to time it because the whole thing seemed too incredible. And in five minutes we saw over eighty shooting stars. Eighty. Can you imagine what the ancients would have thought? Then I read about the Great Leonid Meteor Storm of 1966 and I’m pretty sure that if I ever see such a thing – and I hope to – I’ll think it’s the end.
Tomorrow I’m going to post all kinds of specifics for getting out to see the Perseids this weekend. Until then, here are some Meteor Shower basics for anyone new to the theater. This is long, I know. So just skip to the parts that interest you. Or to the end. Or to the Olympics. Whatevs.
What is a meteor shower anyway?
Experientially, a meteor shower is a night-time event where, under the right conditions, you can see lots of shooting stars.
Technically, a meteor shower happens when earth’s atmosphere comes across a field of cosmic debris, usually stuff spun-off from comets. I’m no scientist, so I’ll leave it to others to do the ‘splaining. This page here explains it pretty well and speaks like an earthling. (You wouldn’t believe what kind of kooky language I encountered finding that for ya.)