tenaya: photo by Wally Pacholka @ Astropics.com (devil's tower)
We drove out to the entrance of Joshua Tree Nat. Park last night to watch the Perseid Meteor Shower. It is about 2 hours away but it's the closest point to a sky with little light pollution. It was a perfect night; the temp about 85 with a warm little breeze that just seemed to caress your skin as it ghosted by. The visibility was excellent, no clouds and no moon. We pulled into the first parking area about 1am to find five other cars already there. The people had their chairs out and from the sound of it, some were trying to take photos. I should have turned off the dome lights of the car before we left but I got them off pretty fast anyway. I set up the camp chairs in front of the car and got Mom settled with a cold drink. I bought blankets and hoodies but it was a perfect temperature and we didn't need any of that. We stayed there for a couple of hours and saw about 60, some quite impressive.

We chatted in low tones and I was reminded of when I was a kid and we would camp out. There's an intimacy to sitting out under the night sky and watching the majesty of universe. I have not seen the Milky Way in decades. We searched for the constellations that Mom herself had taught me of when I was just a young child--and it was in our own back yard. Now light pollution obscures most of the stars at home. I asked her how she had met my dad, who was at her wedding, how long she lived in the trailer parked on the property while my dad built the house on his weekends off. It was a tiny little Airstream trailer and strangely--even though I was just an infant/toddler, I remember the curved ceiling of the thing. Mom thinks having the ceiling so close is what gave me my fascination for ceilings that I still have today.

As we talked, there was "Oh! There was a little one just to your right!" and "oooh! Did you see that one?" I mentioned that people have been doing this for tens of thousands of years, and that probably even the Neanderthals had words of awe and "did you see that one?"

I kinda of expected more, but we left satisfied at 3:15am. The freeway was getting quite congested as we neared home, so I'm glad we left when we did. We stopped at the Denny's in town for breakfast and it was pretty bad. Mom slipped me a piece of her bacon and said, "Taste that. It has no taste. Honestly, how is it possible that bacon can have no flavor?" Good question.

So, even though it wasn't as grand as I had hoped it would be, I was glad to share such a beautiful moment with Mom.
tenaya: photo by Wally Pacholka @ Astropics.com (devil's tower)
"PERSEID METEOR SHOWER: The annual Perseid meteor shower is underway. According to the International Meteor Organization, dark-sky observers are now counting more than 35 Perseids per hour, including many fireballs. Be alert for Perseids from 10 pm on Thursday, Aug. 12th, until sunrise on Friday, Aug. 13th. The darkest hours before dawn are usually best." -- http://www.spaceweather.com/

For finding dark skies: http://www.astronomyforum.net/astronomy-locations/
tenaya: photo by Wally Pacholka @ Astropics.com (devil's tower)
I was googleling about trying to figure out what I'd need to photograph an aurora when I came across this little news bit:

Firefly Mission to Study Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes

http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2010/29jan_firefly.htm

"...are planning to launch a tiny, football-sized satellite called Firefly in 2010 or 2011. Because of its small size, Firefly will cost less than $1 million — about 100 times cheaper than what satellite missions normally cost."

It made me smile. :)


Also, I attempted to efile my taxes tonight. The feds bounced it back once because I forgot the part where I have to fill in an e-W2. :::sigh::: I hate learning curves and trying to understand jibberjabber tax form instructions like this:

"Here's the reason for the rejection:

Error Code 0103: Form 1040/1040A/1040EZ - Total Federal Income Tax withholding shown on tax form must equal the sum of withholding on Other 1099 and AK Dividend, withholding from Schedule K-1, withholding on Form W-2, and W-2GU withholding on any Form 1099-R and withholding on Form W-2G. Exception: Do not reject when withholdings on the tax form exceed withholdings statements by $5.00 or less. identified as a Stimulus Payment return (special processing literal "ESP" in Form 1040A)."

Oh! Yes! I understand completely what I need to fix.

Not.

I'm waiting for it to be bounced back again.

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