Wednesday 3 April 2013

My own personal star-disco...

So last night…I went outside to get the SP in and I paused, as I always do, to look up at the night sky. And…wow. Just…wow.  There was this huge star – right in front of me – and it was flashing, pulsing…unbelievably huge and unbelievably flashing and unbelievably pulsing.  And I thought…plane…or space station or whatever.  But no.  And so I checked out the other stars and they were all doing it too – it was like being in some enormous cosmic disco. 

I’m not talking twinkling, by the way, but full-on flashing.  And they were so clear, so bright…  And I thought how odd it was that, while I can barely see something right before my nose, I can see these stars so clearly when they’re so very far away.

And, I confess, I had a bit of a moment of ‘what the hell?’  As in, am I seeing the last hurrah of the universe?  Am I going to watch that huge star explode and set off a chain reaction?  And I felt…curiously calm about it.  

But then I thought…maybe it’s just me and my crappy eyesight.  So…
‘Hey, James. Come out here,’ I called.  And he wandered out.
‘Look at the stars.  What do you see?’
‘Huh?  They’re flashing.’
‘Ah, you see it too?’
‘Yeah. Weird huh? Atmospherics or something.’

And he wandered back inside, back to Facebook.  But I was mesmerized, entranced. Whether or not it could be easily explained away, it was so beautiful.  I wanted to share it yet there was nobody around with whom to share. 

So I fired up Twitter quickly, scanned my timeline, expecting to see exclamations of awe, explanations of atmospherics or whatever and…nothing.  People were getting excited about some sewing show on TV.
-          Why are the stars flashing?  I asked. 
-          Bad contact. Thump the sky. They’ll come on properly, said one wag.
-          Seriously, if you have dark sky, look up.  I said.

And, out of the 3339 people who follow me on Twitter, three did.  Just three people got up and went outside and looked.  And, you know, that kind of shook me.  There was the sky, doing this amazing *thing* and barely anyone could see the wonder of it.  But hey… I may not plug myself into the TV but I certainly float around anaesthetized in other ways.  And then I thought, hellfire, Jane, what’s with the judgemental stuff?  You like stars, they like…felting. So what?

Anyhow. Eventually I realised I was freezing cold standing out there, and going star-blind, so I came in and ran me a big deep very hot bath and slathered on the last of the Connock body oil – which makes your skin feel sooo silky it’s untrue.  Because after all that looking, I needed a bit of feeling.  And I went to bad and let my mind wonder through the universe…going far enough to be able to look back at Earth and see it quietly pulsing

And this morning I checked up the flashing star thing and Google told me that it is caused by ‘disturbances between your eye and the star.  If disturbances are as big as the star, the star will appear to twinkle.’ And that if you hitch a ride in a spaceship, there is no more twinkling, cos you’re outside the atmosphere.
So, given all the stars were ‘twinkling’ there was a lot of big disturbances out there. But we’re still here, eh?  Aren’t we? 

And then this morning, at the gym, as I put my iPod on shuffle it played me first this...
followed by this...
Stars eh? 


Frances said... comments? How can this be?

Jane, I saw a bit of this post about 12 hours ago, before I headed out to work, and now it's dark here in NYC, and we have so much pollution and electric light that I don't think I will ever be able to see those amazing stars that amazed you.

Wish that I could, though.

The night sky has always entranced me, even if nowadays I mostly get my thrill by full moon gazing, transfixed by that glow at city intersections, totally missing a "WALK" sign as the rest of my fellow pedestrians follow that electric command.

Hey, I also like Kate Bush, and perhaps on my day off tomorrow, I will discover what that other video was...I couldn't quite make out the caption. (Another form of inferior night vision?)


Rob-bear said...

Twinkle, twinkle little star. Yes, thermals and a lot of other things can mess up the sky. Our contribution to the universe.

Blessings and Bear hugs!
Bears Noting

Narrowboat Wife said...

Wow that is really interesting. And I would have looked! I love the stars. Off to Twitter now to become your 3340th follower!