Twas a Late Night

I sat up last night in the field out behind my house. The cold clear sky was unusual for a peak night of a meteor shower. It is more normal to walk out on those nights and see the sky covered with clouds… But last night was beautiful.

2008 Geminid meteor shower
False-color composite view of 2008 Geminid meteor shower. (NASA/MSFC/B. Cooke, NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office)

I had hardly settled in when the first bright streak showed itself. A couple of minutes later there was another. While I wasn’t seeing the 100-150 per hour that were predicted…I saw more than I’ve seen in a lot of years.

I am sure most of my problem stemmed from the quality of the dark sky I was looking through. Being just west of the I45 corridor between Houston and Galveston, it really never gets all that dark here. Even on moonless nights there is a glow both north and east of us here…Last night was no exception.

I was catching a great number of subliminal streaks. Streaks that almost didn’t register on my eyes as any thing more than a subtle scratch on the bowl of the sky letting the base color show through for a moment before vanishing again into the background.

I have to say, I enjoyed my time out under the stars.

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