Despite degrees and a pretty specialized engineering job I'm really just a general nerd. That is, I don't really have one particular subject in science that enthralls me. So tonight I got an unexpected double treat while walking the dogs after work!
Normally I try to get out of the office by 3:30 so that I can get home, drain and feed the dogs, then - while they do a little digesting - I do a little yoga and meditating. Finally, to the dogs' great relief, we drive to the no-leash dog park for them to do all those things dogs love to do while I walk a couple of miles. Unfortunately the office is a bit crazed at the moment as we move our entire manufacturing operation eight miles down the road. While the job has been 'simplified' by breaking it up into a dozen or two phases over a year and a half, it's my department and its very particular needs that's in the hot seat over the holidays. This, along with a recent self-abusing propensity to propose new research projects and get them funded, means I'm not getting out until it's already dark. For JoJo the Dog-Faced Boy and Elle Mea Troublepup this means we only walk the neighborhood (on leash).
I recall a magical night many years ago when my kids were still young and I dragged them all outside one frigid winter evening so we could watch the new International Space Station (ISS) pass overhead. That they still remember that to this day makes me a little proud! Early this year I signed up for a service through NASA - Spot the Station, so that I'd get an e-mail notification when there was a good viewing opportunity in my town.
You may have guessed that I got one of these notices today, so instead of doing the big multi-block walk we usually do we headed to a park a little ways away for some canine sniffing fun where I could scan the sky and watch the western horizon for the ISS. It was pretty long after sunset so I knew it wouldn't be a long track tonight, but at least it was quite dark (despite the bright moon!) and there was a good view of stars even in suburbia. I spotted the station a couple minutes early, maybe due to the great viewing location. About three minutes into the sighting I saw a meteor shoot right across the station's path, the station crossing the same area of view only thirty or so seconds later. Undoubtedly there were hundreds of miles separating the two objects, but I think it was the shear surprise of the meteor that made it so exciting for me! A little bit ago I learned that we are just entering the Geminids meteor shower and tomorrow morning (if the winter storm clouds haven't rolled in yet) I'm going to try to get out of bed early enough to see them.
Just another sorry nerd diary!