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Cold, persperation and FIRE?


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Since nights are incredibly short, this stargazing evening went far into the early morning of the 19th. I am more of an early riser than a night owl which makes viewing the night sky quite difficult at this time of year. Stargaze in the morning? This would mean setting my telescope up at 3:00 am. I do love astronomy but I've been told that sleeping was a good thing,...

I set up my telescope around 11:30. It was at this time that the ISS was streaking across the sky. I followed with my binoculars and gave it a salute when it dipped below the horizon approximately where the moon would be rising (maybe it was already there but stood behind my neighbours house where I couldn't see it).

I stopped by a fuzzy Saturn which seemed nestled next to Porrima in the constellation Virgo. I immediately thought that it's lack of detail was caused by it being so close to the horizon but it wasn't. I felt like I was watching the sky through water! The waning gibbous moon, when it finally made it's appearance, seemed to be dripping with sweat! I should have packed up my telescope right away but something told me to stay put. I decided to do something that could only end up in frustration and set out to look for M51 (a whirlpool galaxy). To tell you the truth I had never been able to see it and have given up many times. Why I would choose this night to look for it,.. I don't know. All I can say in my defense is that there are many things about me that simply can't be explained.

When I noticed a smudge, I told myself that I had finally found it. However, no details could be seen. I patted myself on the book for finally spotting it but,.. now what? I had found it on a night where little could be appreciated! That's okay. If I found it once, I'll find it again!

As I turned to pack my equipment away a light caught my eye. It looked like a lone yet firework which sputtered flames behind it for a couple of seconds (maybe even three) and then was gone. I stared at the darkness, holding my breath, half expecting it to come back to life but no,... I had seen a FIREBALL! Maybe it was a remnant of the Lyrid meteor shower since it's peak ended days ago.

Tonight, in a small northern community in James Bay the atmosphere had shown it's power. It had orchestrated a weather pattern that had me reach for a hat and gloves in the middle of June, turned the moon a very distinct orange colour, had rendered every celestial object in sight into a perspiring mess, and had shown its protective characteristics by turning a rock fragment into fire.

Burn Baby Burn!


Edited by stolenfeather
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A great viewing session, no doubt.

Because you are where you are, here's a weather report you might enjoy for my part of Texas:

13 days straight with temps over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (110 Friday near me, but not an official reading). The sad thing is that summer will not be here for a few days yet. It'll get REALLY hot then and stay that way until late September or early October. We are on track to have 80 or 90 triple digit days this year.

Your mention of gloves brought this on. :)

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I agree with you Alan. The sky conditions were definitely not on my side that night. I'll try t see M51 again. Maybe then I'll know if what I saw was what I should have seen!

Rabbithutch, that's HOT! I hope the best for the summer. I'm assuming that you're not getting much rain either are you? :)


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We would be most appreciative for any rain you could send our way, Alan.

Right now Arizona is burning up with hundreds of thousands of acres burned or burning. Texas still has some uncontrolled fires but not nearly so badly as Arizona at the moment.

Send rain, please. We've only had about 6" since last September.

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