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18 November 2001 @ 03:59 am
lights in the sky  
I failed to convince anyone else to go meteor watching with me -- should have thought to ask Angie, fellow fan of bright sparkly lights in the sky -- but I was determined to go out anyway. The original plan was to go up Page Mill Road into the Hills, but I wasn't completely sure where the good viewing sites would be, so I changed my mind and headed up 280 instead. Pulling into one of the scenic view spots seemed like the opening scene to a serial killer movie, so I opted for Canada College instead. I had watched a meteor shower there a few months ago and knew that while not entirely light free it had a good view and elevation.

When I had to wait behind three other cars at 1am to turn into the college, I began to guess that I wasn't the only one who had picked it as a good spot to see the Leonids. And indeed, there was a parking lot full of people. This was definitely safer. Also somewhat annoying, since there was a large group of drunk and very loud college students. I at least got the guy who was blasting salsa you could hear from across the large parking lot to turn it down.

I was much more prepared this time than last, having a blanket, a pillow, and a cloak to supplement my somewhat inadequate sweater, and having picked up coffee on the way. So I bundled myself up and lay down on my back, and watched the best meteors I had ever seen. It wasn't a storm, but what was there was spectacular: scores of fireballs with distinct heads, leaving trails of debris that glowed for many seconds. They came in singletons and later in pairs and groups, mostly white with the faintest hint of blue or green, but occasionally a deep orange red. The most common path was NE to SW, but they appeared in all directions, sometimes crossing nearly the entire sky.

Cold, tiredness, and the slowing rate of meteors finally drove me home at 3am, but even on the way home I saw three more though my windowshield, bright even against the orange sky over San Jose.
 
 
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