Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

Things that Fall

My wife awoke early this morning and went outside to hunt for Leonid meteorites. She didn't see any. When I lived in the Los Angeles area, I spent a fair bit of one holiday season driving between San Diego and inland Los Angeles. If I chanced to pass Disneyland at night, I often saw the plumes and bursts of fireworks exploding. I love that shower of incandescence. At Southern Arkansas University, the physics department had a planetarium made of paper milk cartons. The stars projected on that home-made screen seemed just as real as the ones in large planetarium with elaborate Geiss projectors from Germany. I love to see the stars move and evolve across the field of the sky, and to see the planets stand out for me, as if they were particularly special people. I sometimes take binoculars and scan the sky--here a star cluster, there the nebular M42, and there are 3 moons of Jupiter.

When I read my friends' list, I feel as thought I am watching a sky show. I see journals twinkle nobly. I see
the dense nebulae, which I can barely see, much less understand. I see some planets very close up, as if they were planted in my particular solar system, as if they were kindred to me. Other journals are charming distant galaxies. Once in a while, someone strikes me as a red dwarf. Another person might seem like a twin star, and the journal seems to change as the stars change position.

Sometimes a journal will go super-nova, and blaze incredible colors, which I can detect with my feeble sensors across the universe. A few journals pulse like pulsars. Many journals just stand there shining in mid-air, a source of constant interest. Once in a while, a journal will just wink out, and the friends' list name will have that curious line through it. Now and again, a star will disappear from view, but will still be placed in its firmament in the universe; I just lose the ability to see it.

I did not see any leonids last night. But I see meteors everyday. I see the dust and the bursts of light. My binoculars are low-powered French things I got on ebay.
But it sure is fun to use them to see the sky.

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