Monday, December 14, 2009

Geminids, Margaret, You Were Missed

The weather forecast didn't look promising, but, sunset arrived and our skies were still clear, so I threw my meteor photography gear in the truck and headed for the Bamberger Ranch. After a very nice dinner with David and Joanna in front of the fireplace, we headed out to see the meteors. They headed for the area around the observatory, because it was close; I headed out to the windmill near the red pens – my standard location for some time – since I can incorporate the windmill into my photos to good effect. The Milky Way stretched overhead clear and bright as my truck trundled to a halt near the windmill. There followed the usual tedious unloading and setting-up, and the difficult focus adjustment trial-and-error (focusing on infinity doesn't do the trick). Then the skies closed, and the best meteor shower of the year vanished. I waited out in the dark cow pasture as the wind hurtled past, making the night much colder than it claimed to be, and shaking even the truck as it went. Hours later, I gave up, just as the peak should have been happening. The sky had cleared briefly once or twice, but the clouds rushed back just as quickly as they left. All in all, I think saw only 11 meteors over the course of those cold hours. Most of that time, I was lucky to see a star.

Above, my one meteor photo of the night, caught, purely by coincidence, as one of the focus-checking shots. (View it full-size, and look in the lower-left quadrant.)

I'd been looking forward to this shower all year. Margaret Bamberger and I had even made plans to watch it. But it didn't work out. (Oh, holy crap, how it didn't work out....) Now the long wait for next year's showers begins. And as for this year, I'll be glad to be done with it. Good riddance. I'd dance on its goddamn grave, if it were to have one … and if I could dance.


  1. Susan G.10:10 AM CST

    I know it is hard for you to express emotions but this entry made me tear up. Your ability to write with words and make me see just where you are and what you are thinking is wonderful. thanks

  2. Alison in Indiana2:07 PM CST

    Nevertheless, Happy New Year with fewer losses and clear skies.

  3. The sadness at the loss of your dear friend is still palpable in your writings. She lives on in your life though-if that's any condolence.