Last week, I was watching the local evening news when I learned that there was a meteor shower that night. That sounded kind of cool, so at 10:30 PM, I looked up the observatory in Tooele County (which was opened that night for the occasion), did a crash course on you tube on how to change the aperture on my camera, loaded the kids in the van with blankets and headed out to Stansbury Park (which is approximately 50 minutes away). Mariah's boyfriend had just dropped her off, so he went with us.
I have always been amazed at all things space related. I don't even begin to pretend that I comprehend anything about stars, planets, galaxies and outer space, but I do think it's really, really cool. One of my favorite places to visit during a visit to Chicago is the Adler Planetarium. I've probably been there a dozen times.
By the time we got to Stansbury Park, all of the kids were asleep. The crisp air woke them right up. We went out with a couple hundred other crazy people to the observation area and waited for burning particles to fall from the sky.
The first time I ever saw a meteor was in 1995. I was on my way to St. George, Utah. I had picked up two hitch-hiking teenage boys in Cedar City. I said, "I will take you to St. George if you promise not to kill me." One of the kids said, "We'll get in the car if you promise not to kill us." Deal. I saw unbelievable meteors that night. I had no idea what they were! I asked the two kids, and they had seen them hundreds of times. I knew them as "falling stars," but that is not really what they are at all. I know just how brilliant they can look in the desert sky, and I wanted the kids to see.
It is near next to impossible to catch a meteor with a camera, and I missed so many of them while fiddling with my tripod and camera. The oohs and ahhs were reminiscent of the 4th of July. Eventually, I saw some really cool ones streaking across the sky.
While I didn't get a picture of a meteor, I took this rad picture of the Big Dipper.I also caught this picture of Jupiter. (You're going to have to just believe me that it really is Jupiter). It was the "brightest star" in the sky, but when Elle and Dom asked the astronomer, he told them it was Jupiter. They thought that was super cool.
The star party ended for us when 1) it got kinda cold and 2) when the sprinklers adjacent to the viewing area came on. A load of people laying out there got sprayed with water at 1:15 AM. I wasn't going to take the chance with my camera equipment...nor was I excited about a van full of wet kids and wet blankets. We packed up and headed home (and this time I remembered to turn the headlights on! ARRGGH!)
I had covered my flash with blue tape so that it wouldn't disturb others. I took this funky picture of Garrett (in the back of the fan) and Elle. The blue glow is from the tape on the flash. We got hot chocolates and headed home.I had a good time, and I hope the kids did, too. I'm not as spontaneous as I used to be....but when the bug hits me, I'm going to try and act on it a bit more. Life is short. There's no harm in spending a few hours chasing a thunderstorm, looking at a meteor shower or creating an IHOP memory that will last a lifetime.