Sunday, August 12, 2012

Meteor Shower

Anselm, Basil, and I went out and watched part of the meteor shower tonight.  Right after supper (pasta with mushrooms and zuchini) we set out for the San Antonio Valley.  To get there from San Jose one drives on California State Highway 130 over the peak of Mt. Hamilton and the Lick Observatory, where the state highway becomes San Antonio Valley Road.

On the eastern slope of the mountain the grade was so steep and the turns so sharp and so frequent that even in first gear my brakes started to over heat.  It is merely an 50 minute drive from where I live but could be another planet.  Granite boulders, scrub oak, gnarly pine, deer, owls, bats, jack rabbits, bobcats.  I think it is named appropriately.  St. Anthony would feel at home there.  It is a beautiful piece of land.  Looks like a good place for cattle, but I think the Nature Conservancy has bought up a lot of it.

 We sat out there for three hours and only 1 pick up UC-owned truck heading to the observatory and three Hells Angels went by. We saw some amazing meteors.  Most of them were just short whit lines flashing in the sky.  Five of them had tails 20 degrees or more in length (Yes, I measured.) and traveled half way across the vault before they burnt into nothingness.  One meteor burned brightly enough to light up the sky, not like the sun, of course, but close to the brightness of the full Moon.  I was astounded.  Anselm and Basil both yelled "WOW!"

I was way past the boys bed time by the time we saw the first meteor.  And they were so tired from a long day of play and swimming at the YMCA that a few minutes before 11 I decided to drive them home.  It was fun.  And this outing helps Basil earn the Cub Scout astronomy pin. (Anselm already has his astronomy pin.)


s-p said...

That is really cool you got to do that with your kids. I've seen a few random meteors in my day but nothing like that.

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