Starry, Starry Nights
I do so like the moon in all its phases. And the twinkly stars. And the shining planets. And all those flashy meteor showers. Oh, and I do like a good old eclipse, be it sun or lunar.
This summer I have diligently tried my
best often a couple of times to venture in the wee hours to catch celestial wonder action.
I am more determined to catch a full moon, especially super moons, being that are usually breathtaking and enter the night stage with much aplomb. The past couple of years has seen a ratchet in my moon madness. My dedication is just short concern. Werewolves frighten the socks off me, so that is not an issue. I just really, like the moon.
The hubs ever happy to find a gift that brings delight (I’m not huge on stuff, being a minimalist) gave me a moon calendar this year for Christmas (not knowing I had picked one up from the Dollar Store). I was, over the moon, with his present. Especially when I heard what lengths he went to purchase it. He went on line. This from a man who owns a shirt that says “I hate cyberspace.” This is a love of true depth and devotion.
I have even subscribed to The Farmer’s Almanac web version to make sure I don’t miss any cool moon and planet action.
Like the planet alignment. You caught that, didn’t you? Wow! Right? I convinced the hubs to sit with on lawn chairs on our driveway and peer up into the night sky at about 4 am to catch this once in a lifetime event. Well, the next time it happens I might be too old to even care about celestial happenings, so I wanted this sighting to count.
There is nothing like getting up what seems like the middle of the night to sit outside bundled up and slightly cold and definitely sleepy, to wait for something that might show up or then again might not. I hear elk hunters experience this. No shooting is involved in star gazing unless it’s a star that took a wrong turn.
I followed the BBC Science Focus, suggested best time to see the 2022 alignment of between 3:39 a.m. and sunrise at 4:43 a.m. on the morning of 24 June 2022. At 4:30 a.m. the show began. An hour of stargazing in the early morn is one thing, but having the neighbor catch us at it is another. When we pointed to the sky at the planets queing as if waiting for their early Starbucks, he nodded and acknowledged the event with a “Cool” before going off wherever he goes at 4:30 in the morning.
Planetary alignment. Check it out:
July’s sky sponsored a super moon—the Buck Moon, the largest moon of 2022. Another required early morn venture. At 2:30ish of the a.m. that moon did rise up out the southeast as splendid as a Banksy rendering. Super, yes. More like superlative. The fact that super moons are more than once in a lifetime do not lessen their appeal.
Here it is August. What’s on the menu? The Pleiades Meteor Showers, of course. And of course they are best seen at “you want me to get up at 3 a.m.?” This time the hubs said give him the details later like after the sun and he was up.
The first night I struggled up at 2:30 a.m. Just in case the show started early. Not sure how to watch for meteors, and being sleepy, I stood up and leaned my back against the truck and watched. Nothing but a crick in the neck and an overpowering desire to go back to bed. The hubs was not impressed by my meager details.
Three nights later I found myself awake at 4 a.m. and this time I had a plan. I bundled up and went to the backyard and climbed into my faithful hammock. This is the best way to watch for anything in the night sky because if there is a starry night no show I can take a comfortable nap. A minute or three goes by. Wait—yes, a falling star. Or maybe that was a star taking a dive off of Venus, since it seemed to ever so slowly dribble downwards. Not too impressive. I’ll wait some more. Ooh—what’s that zipping across the sky with such purpose? Suddenly I feel like an extra from October Sky watching Sputnik threaten my American democracy. Okay, that was entertaining. Another minute or two. The hammock is dampish. I’m sleepy. Hungry, too. Wait—up in in the sky…Is it a falling star? Is it a satellite? A zipping vertical flash—it’s a meteor!
Fulfilled checklist. One lone meteor does not constitute the dizzying scurry of meteors I envisioned, but I’m hungry and the hammock is dampish.
This time the hubs met me at the door as I returned. What must he think about this nocturnal sojourning of mine? He’s happy that I’m happy. We read and go back to bed. I forgot to eat something. So glad for bananas on the counter.
The last super moon of the year will be Thursday, August 11th. The Sturgeon Moon will appear at the very acceptable hour of 6:30 p.m. Thank you. Consider this as my RSVP.
And here it is September and the famous Harvest Moon is scheduled for Saturday the 10th. All this week we have watched fill in from a glowing crescent to a radiant cheese ball in the sky. It already is impressive. I am looking forward to its full prominence Saturday night.
Are you over the moon about celestial night viewing? What’s your favorite night sky item?
Neil Young helps to usher out the summer with its moon glorious adventures: