Friday, August 13, 2010

Perseid meteor shower

Last night Laurel and I drove up to the Fourth of July trailhead and car-camped. The objective was to wake up in the middle of the night to check out the meteor shower, away from any light pollution. We picked up a pizza on the way.

Once camp was set up and we had each eaten half a slice of pizza, it occurred to us that it was still light out. We put the pizza back in the car and at 8pm went for a 2 mile trail run. We finished dinner in the dark and went to sleep.

It was cold at 12:15 when we got up! Laurel watched meteors with me for 5-10 minutes then went back to sleep. I stayed up shivering for another hour.

The Milky Way was very bright, splayed across the sky like a cloud. Some of the meteors went along its path, which was pretty cool. There were some huge ones, maybe 10-20 degrees of sky with tails that lingered (either in the sky or my retina, not sure).

I probably saw dozens in the hour I was out there -- awesome and beautiful -- definitely worth a cold night of little sleep. We got up again at 5am, packed up the tent in the dark, and head back to town (and then to work).

In the words of Dr. Higley,
How often at night, when the heavens were bright,
With the light of the twinkling stars
Have I stood here amazed, and asked as I gazed,
If their glory exceed that of ours.

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