Keeping the faith


Well: 12th/13th was to be the Perseid peak, and the absence of the moon a great help to see them … supposedly.  A fine afternoon gave way to a clearish evening.  As darkness fell the cloud built, the wind gusted ominously, sheet lightning played on the western horizon and grumbles of thunder gave warning.

Which I ignored.  You’ve got to have faith.  Wrapped in sufficient layers and focusing on the clear area of sky above, it was some time before I spotted one or two Perseids, and one random meteor travelling against the traffic.  I suspect only the brightest trails could be seen through the vapourous sky, with all the tiny ones being filtered out by the murk, as indeed only the higher-magnitude stars were visible.

Faith rewarded: one cracking fireball, long, bright, persistent, and leaving a visible smoke trail; maybe the best I have ever seen.  Lightning continued to flash briskly along the horizon, while I crossed fingers, legs and eyes to prevent it moving in.  The ISS made a bright pass, and a few more Perseids whipped by.

But by then the clearing in the sky was being encroached, and the stars of the Summer Triangle went out one by one, until a feeble sucker hole with Cassiopeia in the middle was all the sky that remained.  I did my Laurel and Hardy act in the dark with the reclining chair, and bundled it indoors, though reluctant to go in myself, standing about in the blusters and watching the distant lightning. At last the clouds closed like an ocean over my head; only Vega gimleted a few photons through at the zenith.  As for meteors, only Dragon Star Destroyer of Cities could have penetrated the murk.  And it wasn’t our turn to be destroyed tonight.


2 responses »

    • Thank you! Unfortunately I’ve had a lot of practice trying to find different ways of describing not seeing things – I ought to be good at it by now if practice makes perfect. Actually I felt lucky to see any at all, given the weather we are having this week.

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