Thursday, July 26, 2007

On Glowing Green Orbs

On Friday night N. and I came home late after buying the new Harry Potter book at an after-hours event. We were walking across the parking lot on our way into the apartment when we saw a magnificent event... one which we haven't discussed since then. We were both looking in the same direction as a glowing green orb crossed the sky in maybe one or two seconds, skirting across the tree tops in the distance and disappearing. The thing had a lovely yellow tail on it, and the most striking green color to the orb itself.

This blazing piece of interplanetary debris came flying into our lives and got a discussion going. She thought it might be a firework or something similar but I pointed out that there was no pop. Then she questioned the green glowing color, and I told her that it depends on what material is burning up while traveling to Earth, and besides I had seen this color streaking through the sky before. She called me a know-it-all and we went inside. Oh well, such is life.

Actually I've now seen four of these pieces of the galaxy as they free-fall to Mother Earth. The first was when I was a young’n in Pennsylvania. I was in my standard position in front of the TV which had a west-facing window behind it. It was one of those normal PA cloudy days, where it could start pouring rain at any time. Quickly my eye caught a yellow ball of light falling directly down which made me think of a sun which was setting WAY TOO FAST! Of course I was alone in this room, so there was no one to confirm my sighting.

Now I wasn't too afraid of the whole event, because I'd seen Carl Sagan's "Cosmos" and knew that this HAD to be a meteorite! When I ran in the kitchen to get Mom (she was always either in the kitchen or in the bathroom - My Mother, the voice behind the bathroom door!) she told me to calm down, and she would call our local weatherman, or meteorologist. Hey, I never thought about that meteorologist name before... you would THINK that this guy would have known about it... but he didn't. All in all it was a cool event, even IF Mom didn’t want to get in the car and go looking for what had landed. In the end I suppose that it was another of those events that got me interested in the whole concept of outer space.

For the next sighting I was living in Seattle, but the event was not nearly as cool, maybe that was because I was an angst-filled teenager… few things are very cool when you are an angst-filled teenager. I was walking home from the school bus on one of those stereotypical cloudy/rainy/crappy Seattle days when a green sphere came out of the clouds and streaked across the sky eventually disappearing into the trees. Actually it seemed a bit anticlimactic and I almost forgot it until the night of our latest event.

In the early 90’s it happened again, this time in Wichita. An ex (D.) and I were driving through downtown (yeah, right… Wichita DOES have a downtown) as both of us were drawn to a rapidly falling sun-sized yellow ball of light. It was only visible for a split second in-between the buildings as the truck moved down the street. Unlike my other sightings, it was a bright, sunny day… but we knew immediately that there was no way we were looking at the sun or a reflection of the sun simply by its relation to where we were. Later that night our favorite meteorologist (Merryl Teller – miss ya man) discussed what we saw and let us know that it landed somewhere in Oklahoma… WOW! It looked like it was falling INSIDE the city limits! It was HUGE!

All the time I lived in the wide open spaces in Kansas, that one time was the only sighting of the BIG version. Of course we would go lie in the pickup bed and watch the Perseid Meteor Shower, but while these are fascinating because there are so many of them… they are small, white and you KNOW they are FAR away. The perceived closeness of these others is what makes them so cool.

When I think of where these pieces of space litter came from… possibly broken off of a comet, something from the asteroid belt, or maybe from an exploded planet… I am simply awe-struck. Think of it, what N. and I saw last Friday night could be from the other side of The Milky Way, or even from a completely different galaxy.

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