Sunday, August 12, 2007

Perseid meteor shower

Tonight we drove out to the hills away from the city lights to check out the Perseid meteor shower. It's supposed to peak tomorrow morning in the early pre-dawn hours; we went tonight at 10 p.m., so it wasn't as spectacular as it's going to be, but still quite impressive.

We told Gabe we would be going out to see the shooting stars when it got dark enough. He didn't know quite what that meant, but the anticipation was killing him. About 7:30 he pointed out that it was starting to get dark (it was barely even dusk yet) and we patiently said it had to be even darker. He was climbing-the-walls crazy, asking every few minutes if it was dark enough yet until finally, about 10 p.m., we climbed into the car and drove to a Vista Point on a ridge on the road to Half Moon Bay.

There were other star watchers there before us, and more folks came and went during the hour we were there. We spread our blanket on a patch of ground and stared into the night sky. It took awhile, but every so often in my peripheral vision I would see streaks of light, and then the pay off: a long streak, like a jet leaving a vapor trail, right in my direct line of sight. Every time a good one lit up the sky the crowd would ooh and ahh like watching fireworks on the Fourth of July.

It was chilly, and the three of us snuggled together to keep warm. Gabe saw one or two meteors, but soon was ready to go. I was starting to get cold, but Erika wanted to hold out a little while longer. Meanwhile, the crowd seemed to be getting younger and the overheard snippets of conversation more raucus. Not wanting to share space with the high school set, we finally packed up and left.

All told, a pleasant way to spend a summer night.

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