This Saturday I went out to watch the Perseids, at the Abbotsford Dark Sky Park. It was an amazing experience. It was too early to see many meteors, but a few did make an appearance. In the meantime, we got to gaze up into a sky absolutely crammed with stars. I hadn’t seen a gorgeous sky like that since my trip to Tofino lo these many years ago, and it’s just as awesome and disorienting and humbling as ever.
(Since this was farmland, the other senses were kept busy too: I could hear the honking of ducks (there was a little river nearby, and I guess the cars and visitors kept them up) and the smell of manure (cos this was farm country). That’s how you know you’re out in the country!
I saw a couple of really spectacular meteors. I’ll never forget them: small dazzling white sparks with a soft smoky pearly trail, flaming out in a second or so. The light was perfectly steady, not like an oxy-acetylene torch or regular fireworks. It was otherworldly (well, literally, I guess), almost angelic, which is how it must have appeared to yesterday’s sky-watchers. What stories did Homo Erectus and Neanderthals tell about these dying stars?
And I discovered that my camera can actually take pictures of the night sky—as long as I crank up the exposure (15 sec), and improvise a tripod, I get something about halfway decent. I’ll need to practice more in the future.
PS: before we headed back, I saw two smaller shooting stars with perpendicular paths. I didn’t think that was possible. Aren’t they all coming from the same direction?