Monday, August 12, 2013

The night of shooting stars (so I'm told)

My rendition of last night's sky
In terms of hours, yesterday was the longest day I've had this year. I was up at 5:30 AM on Sunday and I didn't get to bed until 1:30 AM this morning. I did get 6 1/2 hours sleep last night, so my internal clock is now reset.

Our late night was due to the Perseid meteor shower that peaks between Saturday and 1:00 AM tomorrow. We headed out to Sunken Meadow State Park last night, so we could watch this celestial display play out adjacent to the Long Island Sound - ostensibly without the distractions of civilization.

We arrived at Sunken Meadow around 11:00 PM and parked among groups of people who'd set up stadium chairs in the lot. There was no public lighting and as we looked for a spot, our headlights would suddenly reflect on people sitting in the pathway of our car. Just like the geniuses who put themselves in harm's way when they walk or run in the street, these people were oblivious to the danger.

We found a spot on the grass and set up a tarp with a couple of smaller camp mats. Unfortunately, by this time, the sky was almost completely covered by clouds. We all thought we saw flashes of shooting stars in the small openings of sky, but it was hard to be certain. After about an hour, it became clear that things were not going to clear up. By then I'd become fed up with deep bass rumblings emanating from a nearby car, on top of the smell of cigarettes and the constant beams coming from car headlights moving around the lot. We decided to take our leave and see if there were less clouds near where we live.

So much for escaping from civilization. Although I described the experience critically, we actually had a lot of fun. We may go out again tonight, but only as far as the local middle school. That is, if the current low ceiling gives way to clearer skies. I'm hoping the weather cooperates tomorrow morning as I go out for a short taper run. Whether we get some meteor viewing isn't known at this point. What I do know is that I won't be staying up past 1:00 AM again.

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