I love shooting stars. The sudden bursts of streak of light in the dark sky often seem so fascinating to me. And I am lucky to witness such wonders of nature, many times, especially in New Zealand and Costa Rica where night sky seemed so much darker. Many years ago, I actually organized an event through a meetup hiking group to see a meteor shower. It was in the middle of December. The temperature hovered around 10F. It was cold! Luckily 13 curious and brave souls went with me. We stayed pass midnight. But unfortunately we have only witnessed a little more than half a dozen shooting stars, far less than a “shower” I expected.
That is why I was so excited when I found out a meteor shower (Cemelopardalids) on May 23. With dry and clean air, the night sky around Sedona should be great for watching a meteor shower. And I was lucky to find a friend, Phil, willing to go out in the middle of the night. We hiked and stayed in the darkness, hoping to witness “one of the most fascinating sky showers” as some of the scientists predicted. Unfortunately, not only the scientists were wrong—the meteor shower turned out to be far less than they predicted, but also it was so smoky (from the wildfire) at the time that it was hard to see. We have seen, combined, about half a dozen shooting stars. I have seen two and a half—I only captured the last bit of one of them so it only counted as a “half”. 🙂
“We can see more shooting stars in a good day, even without a meteor shower!” Phil exclaimed. So we decided to test his “theory” and went out in the middle of the night, twice since Cemelopardalids. Once we hiked up Cockscomb to see the sunset and then hiked down to wait for the sky to turn dark. In a couple of hours, we have indeed seen as many shooting stars as we saw during Cemelopardalids. Last night, we went up to Little Sugarloaf, first watched the sunset and then waited for the dark sky. It turned out to be a less ideal place since we could see clearly the streetlights from Sedona, Cottonwood, and Jerome! Nevertheless, we did see more than half a dozen shooting stars and it was such a wonderful place to stay in the middle of the night in summer. The temperature in the day reached 90F, but it was so comfortable and even a little chilly at night.
Too bad I can’t show you any pictures of the shooting stars we have seen. You just have to take my word for it. 🙂 I will certainly go out in the middle of the night again, and I am so grateful to have a friend who is willing to chase the shooting stars with me!