Monday, June 22, 2009

Story # 192: Star gazing & Meteor sighting

Do you have a list of things that you want to do or see or buy or whatever? I have a long list. In fact, I have several different lists. Anyways, one of my lists is "Occurrences in Nature I Absolutely Have to See Before I Die." 

The occurrence on the top of my list was shooting stars. I had never seen one before. First, let me just tell you that it is almost impossible to see shooting stars in Miri, where I come from, because of the poor air condition--pollution and humidity. Also, in the city it's always impossible to even see stars because of the light pollution. Every neighborhood has thousands of street lights and every household has at least one light on at night. To Malaysians, it's completely normal to have few lights on at your house even when you are going to sleep--the fear of thieves is deeply rooted in our minds. 

Therefore, when I saw in those Hong Kong drama about couples who were in love, going to a beach or a hill and seeing shooting stars, I was full of jealousy. I tried star gazing a few times outside my house. The mosquitoes might have killed me had I not run inside the house and given up on looking for stars falling from the sky.  

Last night, I was able to cross that off my list. I finally saw the shooting stars. I saw 10 of them! It was about 12am when we got home from visiting Leighton's grandparents. It was dark in the neighborhood (People turn off all of their lights when they go to sleep here. It was absolutely dark, except for 2 street lights down the road). Suddenly Angie and Kendall said they saw a shooting star. I missed it. I was so disappointed. We got out of the car and I looked up at the sky and I saw millions of stars. SO MAGNIFICENT. I even saw the milky way. It was just brilliant. A perfect night for star gazing. 

Leighton and I took the sleeping bags outside and we laid on the trampoline and just stared at the sky. We saw the Big Dipper, the North Star, some satellites, and of course, aeroplanes. 

image taken from http://www.themcdonalds.net/richard/astro/find/images/oth/big-dipper-rsu.jpg








Then it came. A stroke of bright light across the sky. Gone. 

image taken from http://www.scottandkim.net

At first, I thought it was some bird that flew across the sky really quick. It was bright and it disappeared in just a blink of an eye. But then I thought, bird could not have flown that fast. Then I was like, "I guess I saw a shooting star. I guess." I was so excited! I always thought that you only get to see the shooting stars like once every 100 years or something like that. Heck, was I wrong. Leighton said you can see the shooting stars almost every night if you just lay out and look up in the sky. Man, was that a news to me. Obviously I am not an astronomy student and neither did I pay attention in science classes back in high school. Oh, I even think that the stars we see in the sky are sooooooooooooooooooooooo tiny and only come out at night. I didn't know that they are still there in the morning and we can't see them because of the brightness of the sun. Little did I know that the "twinkle twinkle little stars" were actually the size of our sun or even bigger. I forgot that the sun is a star too! I remember learning that when I was in Primary 4. Star, Planet, Moon. Sun, Earth, Moon. Am I smarter than a fifth grader, I DON'T THINK SO! 

Leighton gave me so many lessons about the universe last night. As we were talking, I saw a few more shooting stars. I was getting good at spotting them. The last shooting star I saw was the greatest. It was so huge and it lasted a little bit longer. I could even see the orange flame as it flew across the sky and left a tail.  It was truly magical. I am so grateful for contact lenses so I can see so clearly at night. I am so grateful that I live in a desert where it is so dry and makes the sky so clear and fresh. I am grateful for being unable to comprehend the science behind the universe because it's just way too complicated. I prefer to just think of it as a magical, romantic thing to see a shooting star and be able to make wishes in my heart and know that they would come true. 


P/s: We laid on the trampoline for hours and we could see the stars move. Actually, it was our Earth that was moving but it looked like the whole sky has shifted place. 2 hours ago the milky way was on my right, then it was on right on top of where I was laying. It is at those moments that you realize how the universe works and how great it is to be a part of it. 

pps: Go out and gaze at the star tonight. You'll love it too. 


1 comment:

Derek and Ivy's Story said...

I saw once when i was in U.S, can't remember isit in Utah or Seattle and i was like oh my goodness i saw shooting star and Derek was like, yea, you can see them very often here. Little did i know like you, i thought you only can see them once in your life time. LOL