Wednesday, November 18, 2009

the leonid meteor shower experience


the leonid meteor shower, occurring in the wee hours this past tuesday, was supposed to be "the greatest meteor shower of our generation". naturally my interest was peaked. so after i got off work at 2:30 am (i happen to work at a whiskey lounge so this is normal) the fiance and set out to take a gander at nature's fireworks. we ended up driving 15 minutes outside of syracuse in an attempt to get away from urban light pollution only to find that every damn country road was equipped with an endless expanse of street lights. typically one may think of street lamps as a good thing, however they are not so helpful to stargazers. eventually we gave up on finding an unlit road and pulled over so that we could trek into a sketchy field off the side of the road. i'm pretty sure i saw a "no parking/no trespassing" sign attached to the chain link fence we hopped. really i felt like i was taking part in the perfect opening of a horror movie. i'm sure that if anyone was watching us they'd be yelling at the screen: "don't go in there you idiots!" after about 20 minutes or so of staring at a hazy, rosy-light tinged sky i think we saw one meteor. it could have been my imagination because i really hoped i saw one. it happened fast and was certainly not as spectacular as i had anticipated - more like a faint smudge. it was good enough. we were freezing and i was sure a serial killer was near (i had recently watched the zodiac ok).

lessons learned: 1. don't let your expectations get too high in terms of celestial happenings. 2. don't watch scary movies before wandering around late at night as your imagination will get the best of you. 3. keep your sense of humor intact if you forget to follow lessons 1 - 2.

below i have sketched the disparity between first, expectation and second, reality:





e.cobb "leonid expectations v.s. reality" (2009). 6 x 9 in. colored pencil on paper.

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