Friday, December 14, 2012

A Meteor 'Showers' Me!

The local paper had carried a brief article last week about Geminid Meteor Shower in December [click on Huffington Post link], but I had brushed it aside because of my earlier disappointment some years ago of fruitless waiting most of the night. In fact, I had got carried away by that news item to such an extent that my neck really pained, not to mention losing patience and valuable sleep!  Not one single meteor! 

This morning [December 14, 2012], I found myself at the Athletic Ground for the morning walk opposite Crawford Hall, as early as 5.20 with still a good 40 minutes for the sky to get the first ray of sunlight.

It was a dark sky after the new moon.  I could see Great Bear on the northern sky, Orion Constellation and Jupiter ready to set towards the west and Venus rising on the east. I am not an astronomer, but a sky gazer with only a few names of objects to back.

I had finished the first round and was walking on the track northwards, looking straight so that the path in front was visible.  We do this almost involuntarily.  

Towards the top of my field of vision, suddenly, I saw a bright blue glowing light, streak across the sky from west to east, slightly southwards. It was a meteor.  My reflexes made me look in that direction, almost right above me.  The moment I looked up, it glowed bright and disappeared.  My brain recorded its trail for a long distance across the sky.  If I compare the sky to the top half of a clock, the streak of light was from about 11 O'Clock position to 2 O'Clock position which is a long trail!  It appeared very close to earth as it was quite big.  I could also notice some cinders that quickly disappeared at the end of its tail towards my left and a few as it passed above.  But the time my eye turned upward, the meteor was at its brightest, before burning down towards my right. All this happened in a split second.  My eye and brain could retain that much of information. It was absolutely spectacular.
My next few rounds of walk was filled with this excitement.  I also heard some elderly man at a distance greet his friend "Doomsday will come" because that fellow had come early.  He had not noticed the meteor, or so methinks. But my thoughts were of the past, related to superstitions about Meteors or Shooting Stars, as I sat on a bench to rest, skipping my free-hand exercise. 

We were brainwashed about so many superstitions in our younger days.   One of them was: sighting a shooting star was a bad omen.  Deaths of two relatives in 1972 soon after two separate accidental sightings increased the fear at that small age to such an extent that I dreaded to look up at the night sky lest some shooting star was spotted!!  It was only years later that I could gradually allay that fear.  I was then thinking of astronomers who keep watching meteors and the likes!  In that case, what omen for them?  What about animals and birds that also could notice them?

This morning's sighting, I repeat, was the most spectacular one I have been lucky to 'see'.  There was no 'shower' of meteors, but this one showered to thrill to me!  I hope some walkers already there in the ground were lucky too.

Back home, I retrieved that newspaper to read the full article!  I 'googled' to provide the link in the first line of this post.  In the link are more pictures taken and shared by various sources.  Take a peek.  My description will not suffice!  I could only recreate using MS Paint.

A link from NASA, just FYI.



You are really fortunate, Dinu. and your 'picture' is an interesting depiction.

Susan Hirneise Moore said...

Awesome, Dinu!! Oh, oh! You already know that this is an awesome thing.
I would like to add that I would love to see a meteor too, just like you did!!!! Susan