Summer Experience – Meteor Shower and a Blue Moon

I’ve been watching the skies – have you?

Once again, we’ve been exposed to treats in the summer skies. Just over a week ago, it was the annual display we call the Perseids. This meteor shower peaked around August 12 – but put on a show for several nights prior to and after that date. Hopefully, you were in an area unaffected by cloud cover or light pollution, and were able to see the phenomena.

It so happens that I was having trouble sleeping that week – and so I was able to experience the meteors first-hand at about 2:30 or 3 a.m. several nights in a row.
 
Seeing a meteor is always so unexpected. Staring up into the sky, trying not to focus on any one spot for fear that you will miss a meteor in some other part of the sky. My sources told me not to stare straight up at 12 o’clock, but to watch about 60 degrees from the horizon.

That advice proved correct. Gazing up at the dark night sky, thousands of stars twinkled above our house south of Santa Fe. And then, a flash of light, like a chalk mark across the sky. Gone in an instant, as if written in disappearing ink. Then another flash, another dash, and gone. It happened again, and again, and again.
 
I told myself I would stop after I’d seen ten. Then the number grew to fifteen, and then twenty. It was as if I was daring the shower of meteors to stop. Eventually, the light flashes became fewer and farther apart. Thankfully, my eyes finally grew sleepy again. I went back to bed.

Here’s some great info about those ‘shooting stars’: the larger the meteor and the shallower its angle of descent toward Earth’s atmosphere, the brighter and longer the shooting star will appear. Meteor showers are usually best observed after midnight, because the portion of the sky seen then includes the area ahead of Earth’s orbital path, where oncoming meteors that graze the atmosphere are more likely to be visible.

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