Something amazing just happened. I saw four shooting stars. Well, they were meteors which zoomed off from the asteroid Phaeton 3200 millions of light years ago, but they looked like my Disney idea of shooting stars.
I saw them because I was watching the X Factor final (not an edifying experience) and while scrolling through the many hilarious tweets on the subject, I saw a post a friend had put up reminding everyone about the Geminid meteor shower, which I’d heard about on the radio, but had forgotten was happening tonight.
I grabbed my coat and my daughter and we ran outside to the street. We saw four of them. Curves of gold light, arcing across the sky.
Then we got too cold and had to come back inside.
One of the things I love about living where I do is that we have a very dark sky, because there are only houses on one side of the street. The other side is the start of the East Hill and Hastings Country Park and there are very few houses across several miles of coastal land.
When people who live in the environs ask where I live, I sometimes call it ‘the darkness on the edge of town’.
It’s the very Eastern extent of Hastings and I like that feeling of wildness.
One a clear night I often go outside to gaze up at the stars and after a glorious windless day of winter sun, it’s as clear as it gets tonight. You can make out distant galaxies, as well as the more obvious Mars (distinctly red), Venus (bright), Orion’s Belt etc.
It makes me think of the night I slept outside in a swag in the desert near King’s Canyon and stayed awake for hours gazing up at the Milky Way and the Southern Cross.
Then, as tonight, I made some wishes.
For more info about the meteors watch this NASA clip.