Friday, February 3, 2012

Look! Up in the sky!

Look! Up in the sky!

No, it wasn't a bird.  It wasn't a plane, although at first I thought it was.  It wasn't Superman, either.  Here's what happened.

A few days ago I went out in the evening to do an errand.  On my way to my car, I paused to admire the evening sky.  Two planets were burning brightly, Venus, and, I think, Jupiter.  The waxing crescent moon added to the beauty.  It was cold and serene, a beautiful winter evening.  And then I saw it.  At first I did think it was a plane because it was that bright.  It was moving, a bright transient star, and then it it burned orange and was extinguished.  I blinked and looked again.  Following in the path of the now vanished bright thing was a smaller, fainter light.  It, too, suddenly vanished.

I stood staring for a while, trying to make up my mind about what I had seen.  Had I witnessed a natural meteorite doing what  meteorites so often do in our planetary atmosphere?  Or had I been privileged to see the fiery demise of space junk, flaming out, with any luck, before whacking into someone's roof? 

I still don't know, of course, but I'm leaning toward the space junk theory.  Space junk has been in the news a lot lately.  And there is so much of it.  We humans don't seem to care where we toss our garbage.  If that was a piece of human made debris, though, it had one attribute I don't normally associate with garbage.  It was beautiful.  Meteors and space junk: beautiful if you aren't right where they land.

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