Friday, August 13, 2010


The picture of Jupiter made that night from Mt. Wilson. You can see the red spot. This is a low resolution shot of the original
To see the annual meteor shower, 4 conditions have to be met

  • The right phase of the moon: new moon vs full moon
  • No cloud cover
  • No ambient light
  • You actually need to be awake. Best time to see them was at 12PST but this translates to 3EST which my body still seems to be on. For example, it is just past 6 am here as I sip my coffee typing on a borrowed computer and all are asleep but I know it is after 9 am in Michigan
Well most of this conditions were met somewhere in CA. The husband of the house is camped on top of Mt. Wilson with his fancy telescope. Maybe he'll take pictures. We were invited to go but....

I've lived all these years and not seen this display usually because I forget about them. Some years I've tried. So in my long life, I have seen falling stars only on two occasions; once while camping in Manistique in the UP and another sitting on my friend's deck surrounded by her deer.


Beach houses in Santa Monica

The pier with Naomi and Maya underneath it and my friend to the left

On the beach
Sunset from the overpass. Santa Monica Mts

The Pier from the Palisades

Naomi went to bed early. She's on Maya time: sleeps when Maya sleeps. We walked along the beach last night at sunset with Maya in the Baby Bjorn, Naomi trying to capture every beautiful moment by photo. Even the parking structures are interesting here to her. After sharing some wine with our wonderful hostess, I took a thick comforter (really would not be needed in Michigan but I wouldn't attempt to sleep under the stars there as my face would be  mosquito bait)and lay facing the sky. But a coastal fog came through and so much ambient light that once my eyes adjusted, it seemed like permenant dusk. I don't think they could ever see stars here. In our humble neighborhood we can see some of them as we are on the edge of town. In that little village I stayed in Italy, no competing lights whatsoever and never any clouds so they sky was spectacular. We returned before the Perseids. I fell asleep well before the  meteor shower but I would not have been able to see it any way. I was on the edge of the pool hoping I wouldn't sleep walk into it. In the middle of the night, I awoke to the sound of some creature walking through trying to find my glasses to identify it: possum? cat? skunk? Also one mosquito so they do have them.

I am sipping coffee with Ginger at my feet. She is the same age as Spud, 14, but is a big dog. She is interesting looking. She's part German Shepherd giving her size (bigger than Sunny) but looks like a deer with her ears cocked similarly. Or part lion..part hyena. She is buff colored and her fur was shaved off to give her comfort. She moves slowly given her age but makes sure to keep anyone company who is up first.

The man of the house has since returned from the mountain top. I am writing the next day. He took long exposures, 10 minutes, to capture the meteor trails with a camera attached to his telescope. Then he amplified the images by computer in a lengthy process. Looking closely, he found several trails, By his naked eye, he saw 20 the whole night but he does have an amazing picture of Jupiter so detailed you can see the red spot clearly. Also very clear shots of the Milky Way. I will see if these images are shareable or if he can reduce the amount of bytes in them as they are enormous files. They are amazing!

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