Wednesday, December 14, 2011


There's a rule in astronomy: if I'm watching for a meteor show, it will be cancelled.  Sort of.  Skies didn't get clear here until the wee hours, when the moon was high.  But I stood in the cold for awhile, a few hours after the predicted peak of the Geminid meteor shower.  Even though the moon is past full, it is still very bright here--I was casting a definite shadow. When I first got here I was astounded by how bright the moon gets here on the North Coast, and I guess I still am.  The first place we lived had a skylight in the bathroom, and one night I saw my reflection in the mirror by moonlight.  Tonight--this early morning, with the sound of distant garbage trucks grinding and beeping--there were only about a hundred heavenly bodies visible (including, reputedly, five planets.)  But they were very bright and twinkling.  I don't remember stars really twinkling like this when I was a kid in PA, though I could see many many more of them.  Tonight was like a highlight reel.  The big dipper.  Orion.  Very nice.  And over Orion I caught one flaring meteor, just to the side of where I was looking.  That was it.

But last evening, just after dark, Margaret was walking home and saw a meteor twist across the sky, in a long wobbling path.  She happened to be looking in exactly the right place, and had no idea there was a meteor shower.  Well, there may be some tomorrow night.

Meanwhile on Tuesday a pretty trustworthy poll had Paul running even with Mitt Gingrich in Iowa, while in a national poll, Gingrich was leading for the nomination but against him, President Obama gets 51% to under 40 for the Gman.  

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