Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Stories in the Stars

Before I forget:
The next meteor shower will be the Geminids, which will be overnight, December 13-14th. (quoting the Amateur Astronomical Society of Rhode Island) "The most reliable meteor shower of the year, the Geminids are characterized by their multi-colored display--65% being white, 26% yellow, and the remaining 9% blue, red and green."  This shower is from an asteroid instead of a comet as most are.

I've been interested in the stars ever since I was a child.  In high school, I wanted to be an astronomer until I took my first astronomy class and was thwarted by a terrible teacher.  It didn't turn out badly - after all, engineering pays better than astronomy.

I lost track of my love for the stars for many years.  Decades, really.  In downtown Cleveland, downtown Washington, DC, and downtown any other city I've lived in, the sky never gets darker than purple and one can see maybe 5 stars in the night sky.  In South Carolina I had a hammock in my yard and frequently spent the night outside (in the summer anyway).

It wasn't until November, 2007 when I was laying under some stunning stars in a bedouin camp in the Jordan desert that I made a promise to myself to re-connect with that childhood love of the stars. And here I am two years later with my homestead in the hills.  I can see the Milky Way on clear nights, and sometimes it's hard to make out constellations, there are so many more stars making it difficult to make out their shapes.

On Saturday, the planetarium lady told the story of Cassiopieia and her husband Cepheus, her daughter Andromeda, the sea monster Cetus, and rescuer Perseus.  All are constellations in the fall/winter sky.  I already knew a few of those constellations and had read the story, but somehow hearing it again finally made the whole thing stick together for me.  When the the planetarium lady tells the story about the late winter constellations, Orion and Taurus, I will go back to hear it.

PS - I did send Jenna an email yesterday offering to take her animals if she needed it, but she didn't respond. She's about 40 miles from me.  From reading the comments on her blog it looks like she's found homes for them.  It doesn't bother me - I'm not ready for goats just yet.  Soon...soon.


  1. Jordan, I love this post, and you're reminding me of a discovery I made, in rural Vermont. First thing I noticed there is the sky is full of stars, while in my home city I see hardly any.

    Yes, it looks like Jenna is working out the issues with the animals. It was very generous of you to contact her.

  2. It's like looking at a sky full of friends!

  3. Do you see any Northern Lights?

  4. Not yet! That's on my life list of things I want to see. Not positive they can be seen from here.