Thursday 20 April 2017

Space Station

Image result for space station
A couple of days ago I read in the paper that for the next six evenings the international space station would be visible from where I am staying in Maui. That's pretty cool. If you have ever been here, you will know that there really isn't a lot to do in the evenings so watching the space station pass overhead will kill six or seven minutes.

Well, the first night I had no idea just where in the sky it would appear and where it would go to, so I missed it. Last night I made sure where it would be visible and for how long. I just assumed it would pass at the same time of evening and not an hour earlier like it did. How can you run a space program if there is a lack of regularity? This morning I made sure of the time and the place. Unfortunately, when the time came I had forgotten I was going to watch the space station pass overhead and missed it. I feel that by tomorrow I will have all of my ducks in a row and with any luck I should see a tiny dot crawling across the sky. Whoopee!

I have always been less than impressed by celestial objects. I saw a comet which everyone was wetting themselves about and to me it was just a little smudge of light surrounded by a billion other smudges of light in the night sky. I've watched meteor showers. If I had a shower as pitiful as that, I would never manage to wash myself at all. I won a telescope once and although it was pretty good looking up the alley, I didn't have a lot of luck seeing anything in the cosmos.

I know that it is my fault, I am expecting to see Alderaan exploding or the Enterprise sailing through the rings of Saturn. My sense of wonder at the universe has been ruined by the television and National Geographic. It's supposed to work the other way!

That first night while I was trying to see anything in the night sky, five people came walking along the beach. I understand how wonderful it can be at night. These people were using a flashlight to light their way. The shore is pretty well lit from artificial Tiki lanterns, Christmas lights and just lights in general. People BBQing need light to grill by. So, one side is well lit and on the other side you know that you have gone too far when your feet get wet. If you stay in the middle, there is sand. Without the flashlight, their eyes would have been acclimated to the dark and they would have been able to see just fine by the light of the Space Station passing overhead.

I saw someone with a flashlight again tonight. A young man on vacation with the love of his life. I wonder if she knows that he needs a nightlight. Fear of the dark is hard wired into us humans I guess and being able to banish the dark is akin to magic.

I'm pretty brave sitting on the lanai with a light on and the screen lighting my face.

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