Friday, November 13, 2009

Watching the Night Sky

I have a memory as a teenager of a few friends and I hanging out one fall evening. We were sitting on the truck tailgate sharing stories and talking about life. The cool evening was lit by the moon and stars and our breath hung in light clouds of mist in front of us as we spoke. It was peaceful, calm, and maybe even somewhat grown up for what we were at the time. For some reason that night under the stars stayed with me and now on clear, cool, fall nights I often go back to that tailgate.

Star gazing is one of those activities that is hard to understand. Why would you enjoy cranking your neck and head skyward to view little dots of light in the sky? Who knows, but a great deal of us do enjoy it. Next Tuesday the sky could be very exciting as the Leonids meteor shower will be viewable and this adds a whole new dimension to star gazing. It is like switching from figure skating to hockey on the TV, there is a lot more action.

If you want to enjoy the Leonids meteor show(er) then I suggest you find a nice dark place away from the intruding lights of the city. Take a thermos full of hot chocolate, a few sandwiches, some cookies, and a sleeping bag, get comfortable and look skyward and enjoy the show. It may start a bit slow but you never know when the plot might thicken as a streak of light flies by overhead.

For more on this "Wow" inspiring event check out these websites
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/04dec_leonids2009.htm
http://cottagemania.ca/stargazing.phtml
http://stardate.org/nightsky/meteors/

I encourage you to take your kids out, invite a friend, or go alone and enjoy this event. It might lead you to discover something about yourself, about one your with, or this planet we live on. In the end, I am sure you will never look at the night sky again with out a memory.
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