Friday, August 13, 2010


A friend and colleague is an astronomer. A very good one too, by all accounts.
Last night (August 12-13) he drove (with some like-minded friends) to deepest, blackest Northumberland to watch the annual display of the Perseid meteors. (As a way of comparing enthusiasm, I looked out of my bedroom window a couple of times and thought "sod it; cloudy").
He was sorely disappointed, seeing only four meteors when - literally - hundreds will have been flashing across the sky above the cloud tops.
It does leave me to wonder at the human species. A highly intelligent man (plus friends) are prepared to travel many a mile and sit there in the pouring rain waiting for a break in the clouds so that they can see the occasional grain of sand left behind a comet's wake flash across the sky as it is atomised by our atmosphere.
I find that quite wonderful. Inspiring. Insane.
Astronomers: optimistic enthusiasts all.

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