Meteor showers

The worst thing about the current bad weather isn’t the constant rain: it’s that it means I don’t get to see tonight’s meteor shower.

I love meteor showers, and a few years before I moved to Glasgow I got to see a really spectacular one. I lived in a small town in Ayrshire at the time, and the combination of insomnia and curiosity drove me out of the house to have a look. I figured – correctly – that the nearby hills would be the perfect vantage point. Conditions were perfect too: the skies were crystal clear, and because I lived well away from any city light pollution wouldn’t affect the show. And because it was a weeknight I could be reasonably sure the back roads wouldn’t be populated by shaggers.

I jumped in my car, drove out to the hills and parked in a lay-by next to a farm gate. I opened the sunroof, wound down the windows, reclined the seat and lay back to enjoy the show.

The night was utterly silent (it was 3am, or thereabouts), and the shooting stars were fast and frequent. I think the silence made it more impressive, and before long I’d drifted into a kind of trance as the meteor storm became more and more intense. Watching the trails flare and disappear, seeing the long-delayed light from distant suns that may no longer exist, I was struck by the magic and beauty of the cosmos and the realisation that


Jump? I damn near ended up in orbit.

It was, of course, a cow (as opposed to, I dunno, a mouse that’s really good at doing impressions, or a fox having an identity crisis). Just an ordinary cow, which had spotted my stargazing and decided to take a closer look. After watching me for a while, it decided to say hello. Hence the moo. Hence me jumping halfway out of the sunroof, cracking my knee off the steering wheel and filling the night air with the sound of a Scotsman swearing.

I’m sure that kind of thing doesn’t happen to Patrick Moore.





0 responses to “Meteor showers”

  1. mupwangle

    The sky was reasonably clear down here, although looking northwest (where the shower was meant to be) is directly over Leeds and Wakefield so the sky is pretty much totally orange. I stood in my back garden, and once my eyes had adjusted, the sky was quite clear. I saw about 2 meteors in about half an hour. Since they reckoned there should have been about 100 an hour I was a tad disappointed.

  2. QueenSwirly

    I watched in Derby. Took my girl out to the nearby park to try to avoid ‘light pol’ but we were a bit early, 10pm, and only saw a couple. We were heading to bed in at 11.45 when we decided to give it another try from the garden. Clad in pj’s and flip-flops, to avoid the snails and slugs, we were treated to a jet black sky and a beautiful display to remember forever. My girl (aged 7) had never experienced shooting stars before and was overwhelmed by the whole experience, I’ve seen a few before, but to be honest I had tears in my eyes a little too. If the sky clears tonight I know where I’m going to be.

  3. DavidP

    LOL! I can imagine that. I love your blog, really makes me laugh sometimes.

  4. Gary

    Why, thank you. Hopefully some of the time you’re laughing with me rather than at me :)