Bad Weather for Eta Aquarids

As expected, cloudy sky…

So, no eta aquarids for me…

However, I do have a clear sky that I didn’t see for a long time last Sunday night…

I was on my way back from Penang to Kuala Lumpur and the sky along the highway is good, especially near to Ipoh. Before I went to sleep in the bus, I actually saw Orion’s belt and a bright star or two, but that’s it. Then I felt asleep. But when I woke up and look out of the window, wow, staring right at my face is the familiar seven brighter stars of Ursa Major – the Big Dipper.

An old “friend” that I’ve not seen for some time…

Following the arc of the handle, I found Arcturus, very different from the stars around it because of its reddish colour. I tried to continue the arc to Spica, but it was block by the top of the bus. Then I press my face to the window, hoping to catch Leo somewhere higher up in the sky. Yeah… it’s there… the “opposite side question mark” and Saturn also. The person beside me must be wondering why I keep sticking my face to the window.

Hoping to catch other constellations, I turned my head the other way. There I saw Castor and Pollux in Gemini, with another reddish bright star nearby, forming a straight line – Mars. There were also some dimmer stars between Big Dipper and Gemini, but I can’t recall what constellations.

Then I reached Ipoh toll plaza. The bright spotlights drown everything. So I went back to sleep.

Later, when I woke up, somewhere around Sungkai, the stars were smiling at me again. This time was the stars from the opposite hemisphere. At first, I couldn’t make out the constellations because some trees were blocking my view (and also still blur blur), but as the trees cleared (and I’m becoming more alert), no mistake that they were the Southern Cross and Centaurus. Very nice! I also managed to see Scorpius and its “bright reddish heart” – Antares.

Then, I started to wonder… I was heading south from Penang to KL, so when I look out of the window, I should be seeing stars from the east (I was sitting on the left side of the bus). Instead, I saw stars sometimes from the north, sometimes from south and other times from the east. This shows that the highway is not a straight north-south route, but a road with curves and turns that are heading different directions some other times.

This is nothing new – there are no 100% straight roads to anyplace, there are hills and rivers and trees to avoid – but it’s fun to think that you can actually prove it by just sitting in a bus and looking at the stars.

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~ by thChieh on May 7, 2008.

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