On my bad luck with astronomy

I can’t believe it! Every time there is some fabulous astronomical event, I happen to be in some place I can’t observe it!

I developed a fascination with all things beyond our atmosphere when I was in grade school and had the opportunity to bolt out of class one day to watch a solar eclipse. The event was humbling. Even for my young mind, the perspective of how staggeringly large and beautiful the universe is was perfectly clear. I’ve been fortunate since then to catch a lunar eclipse, not to mention spotting the occasional bolide, which inevitably make me feel like a young boy again, filled with wonderment at the Heavens.

However, I have had remarkably bad luck with the weather. I’ve been in the right place and time to catch more lunar and solar eclipses, comets, and possibly even a shuttle re-entry, and have inevitably blundered into overcast, rainy, foggy, or otherwise unfavorable observation conditions. I recently moved away from the big city and am now in a nice rural area with a very good view of the stars on most days. My first chance to see a comet in a long time has just come around. Comet Pan-STARRS, visible to the naked eye is in our neck of the woods. Tonight should be the last night it is visible if I have my facts straight. Right on cue, we hit three days of continuous rain and snow. Nothing but a monochromatic grey sky, since day one of the comet’s visibility. Funny, this happened to me for Halley’s comet, too.

Sheesh! I think this is astronomy’s way of telling me that I need to get a job that will allow me to buy a private jet.

In the meantime, I’ll keep working on the giant fan in my backyard so I can blow the clouds out of the way for the next show in the sky. I guess I can also content myself with this beautiful clip from Wired: comet Pan-STARRS


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