Saturday, 24 September 2016

A Slow Meteorite Night

So, last month, on holiday in Brittany I dimly remember the existence of the Perseid meteorite shower.  Through the power of Google I find that peak activity is due that very night.  This doesn't usually happen, does it?  It's normally the night before.  

And not only that, it isn't going to be an ordinary meteor shower.  It isn't even going to be an M&S meteor shower.  It's going to be a meteor outbreak.

So up I get the family, bleary and stumbly, from their beds and out into the mild clear night air (even the meterology is with us).  And we stare.  And stare.

And, yes, there are a few blink-and-you-miss-it smears of light in the sky.  Real shooting stars.  And sometimes you see them.  And sometimes you miss them.  But nothing like what a lifetime watching the ever-developing art and science of special effects, computer-generated or otherwise, has led me to expect.  I wanted to be, you know, within the spray of a galactic angle-grinder whereas it was more like the gods trying to strike slightly damp matches.

Since then we've spent a dusk bat-watching at Berry Head.  Again, nothing like what CGI-heavy horror films had built me up for.  No showers of creatures tangling in your hair.  A few pipistrelles went that way.  Three or four greater horseshoe bats went that way.  Then our guide thanked us for our time.

Two nocturnal activities which have proved slightly flat.  Two bouts of sky-staring that have led to tired necks and not a great deal more.  Two evenings that have left the optimist in me wondering.  Given that I have plans to travel to the States to see the total eclipse next year (yes, appreciate that it isn't an evening thing, but I am expecting the sky to go dark) I'm left wondering... third time lucky, or do things come in threes?

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