Photo: KNTV

Meteor watching

New moon in Joshua Tree NP

Sunday night was a new moon and supposedly the peak of the annual Perseid meteor shower, so the usual suspects plus a few more went to Joshua Tree National Park to watch the celestial cavort.

The first stop, now traditional, was at KFC in Yucca Valley to pick up some finger-lickin' dinner. Bob and Ken, also by tradition, came prepared with fistfuls of coupons to lighten the tab. Having made our choice of chicken and sides, we were off to our traditional spot on Geology Tour Road.

Happily, the weather was perfect, and there were were no bees, flies, nor mosquitoes this year! The dinner show took the form of a truly spectacular sunset. All together now, "Ooooh! Aaaaah!"

After dark, we went through the usual strenuous effort to locate the Big Dipper (pretty easy), Polaris (not too hard), the Little Dipper (someone draw the lines, please!) and Cassiopeia (what W?), which would be the landmark for locating Perseus, whence the Perseid meteor shower would come (in theory). Ken insisted he had found the Andromeda galaxy, to which we all said, "That's nice."

Eventually a meteor would streak briefly across the sky every now and then, but they didn't last long and if you didn't happen to be looking in exactly the right spot, by the time you heard the oooohing and aaaahing, it was already to late to look for it. There may have been one meteor that lasted long enough that we all were able to see it.

But we had a great time, anyway! Check the slideshow (sidebar).