Perseids and Planets

Last night was the peak of the Perseid meteor shower this year. There were some really spectacular ones last night! In any case, it was a good excuse to do some star gazing.

I also took the opportunity to pull out my telescope and take a peek at Jupiter. When I set up, Jupiter was still below the horizon, so I decided to try and find Andromeda. Andromeda is the closest galaxy to the Milky Way. I knew where in the sky I needed to be looking, but I didn’t have much luck. Deep sky objects are not my strong suit! There was also a fair bit of light pollution to deal with because of passing cars and lights from houses and such. Fortunately, that settled down later. After Jupiter rose, I abandoned my search for Andromeda and turned my scope to a giant planet that I have a particular soft spot for. Jupiter was the first planet I ever saw through my telescope, on my 18th birthday ironically! I took a peek last night and saw three of the larger moons and was able to pick out some of the more obvious dark banding on the planet. It still amazes me that I can actually see another planet from here!

I have a Lafayette 76 mm Telescope. It’s older than I am! It was a Christmas gift a number of years ago from my parents. I had wanted a telescope for so long, and I can’t tell you how absolutely thrilled I was to open up that wooden box and find a telescope inside! I watched Hale-Bopp through that scope. I’ve seen the moon and some of the planets through it. I know that there are much newer and more advanced telescopes out there, but I wouldn’t trade mine for any of them! (OK, Hubble is pretty darn cool, but the maintenance costs would be astronomical.)

Eventually, we settled down on the air mattress to watch the meteor shower. The boys were in bed, but our daughter was out with us counting meteors and wondering if the blinking lights in the sky might be a UFO! The clockwork of the cosmos amazes me. Looking up at the stars is always comforting to me. They’re always there, right where they are supposed to be. It’s a reminder to me that the God who created them is still sovereign.

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