|To sum up the weekend and staying up for 24 hours without
sleep to view the Leonids Meteor Shower: Yes it was the most splendid
visible display of mother nature I have witness in my life, yes I was
tired, yes I would do it again, and yes I am too old to do it very often.
I did get home from the sheep dog trial competition around 2:30
Saturday afternoon to give me time to help Bob get ready to leave to go up
to Bullington at 4:00. Just as he left my sister showed up to pick up some
stuff on her way to work then I hit the shower. Afterward I fixed dinner
for Lenore and I and walked the dogs. Bill, Bob's brother, gave us a
pleasant surprise by driving over after he got off work at 4:30 arriving
right about 7 pm. That allowed me to leave earlier than the planned ten
o'clock to go up to Bullington and gave us both the peace of mind knowing
Bill was here just in case Lenore needed something with us gone for so
When I arrived at Bullington, it was of course already dark, Bob,
Priscilla, Debbie, John and Lenore Crego, and a new couple to the group
had already arrived. They were sitting around talking and doing normal
observation stuff looking at planets and deep sky objects. We did get a
break on the weather and while it was a bit hazy down low in the horizon
the sky itself was nice and clear. I got my observation stuff from the
truck and added some warmer clothing before getting settled in.
We spent the early part of the evening looking at deep sky stuff, plus
Saturn and Jupiter. As Orion rose about the mountain I was able to locate
the Great Orion Nebula in the refractor scope for the first time in my
life. That was exciting for me even though it is easy to find both naked
eye and with binoculars.
Around midnight we started seeing a few meteors here and there with the
intensity slowing picking up as the hours passed. Weather wise it was not
all that cold except that periodically a very cold breeze out of the north
would stir up and make it rather brisk just sitting around.
About 3 am Sunday morning a member of the astronomy club and about
eight of his friends showed up supposedly to watch the meteor shower. They
ended up instead being pretty loud and obnoxious even though they set up
in the field just beside the concrete pad. As the meteor storm started to
intensify Several of us ditched our chairs and made "beds" on
the cement pad so we could lie down flat to get a broader view of the horizon.
The owner of the field where we do our observing stopped by to watch a
while and another new member and his wife.
Close to 5 am as the peak was predicted to take place, Michelle Kennedy
from WXII News, showed up to do a taped segment. She interviewed Bob
again, this time lying down while we were laying there observing. Then she
and some her crew and a couple of friends she brought along all made
places to lie on the concrete and watch for awhile. The cameraman took
some shots of some of the members while they were observing and some of
the sky to try and catch some of the meteors.
Just as the Clear Sky Clock predicted, about 5:30, the clouds and fog
started to roll in. By this time it was almost light enough to see without
flashlights. Even though there were a few meteors still flying about we
started packing up. I was finally getting cold having been out all night,
as were most of the others. By the time we packed up the gear and drove
home it was just about 7 am Sunday morning.
We headed straight for bed hoping the dogs would settle once they
discovered we were going to bed not getting/staying up. I slept until
about 10 when I heard Malcolm whimpering and got up to let them go out. I
then took them with me back to the bedroom and closed the door to get some
more sleep. Bill was trying to sleep on the couch. The dogs and I slept
until noon, then I woke up thirsty, so I decided to go ahead and get up. I also needed to fix Lenore her
morning coffee and breakfast since Bill was also still asleep. I went down
and started unloading my car and bringing stuff back upstairs like food
Bob got up around 12:30. After we ate lunch I took a shower and checked
my mail. Then watched part of the race. After Bob took his shower we went
back down to put in a load of cloths to wash and clean out astro-truck.
Bill took off for home and I came back to do some work at my desk.
Not surprisingly, by 4 o'clock this afternoon we had both run out of
gas. The dogs should have been tired too. Bill said he could not get them
to go back to sleep last night like they normally do when he stays with
them. I think the dogs could not figure out why we had not come back home.
They knew we did not take any luggage with us when we left.
I did manage to stay awake just long enough to watch The Practice but
just barely. I went back at 10:45 to turn it on in the bedroom while I got
ready for bed. I propped up both eyes long enough to watch the last ten
minutes then turned out the light and fell asleep. My dad called about
11:09 to tell me he saw me on TV. I did a brief sound bite for her when we
were laying on the ground watching. I went right back to sleep and slept
all night pretty hard.
I am pretty well rested this morning. First order of business is clean
house. This afternoon I am sure I may be a little more tired than usual so
I plan to do some work at my desk.