16 March 2009
Twinkle, twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are
Up above the world so high
like a diamond in the sky
I had a weird moment tonight. It was one of those moments when I wasn't quite sure what I was seeing. I was out in the backyard with the dogs, enjoying the crystal clear night sky. The moon wasn't quite visible yet so there were only stars as far as the eye could see. I live out in the country, or the suburbs of a very small town if I wanna get cheeky about it, so light pollution isn't much of an issue. Anyway, the weird moment came when I made it to the back of the yard and gazed at the brightest of the stars. And, I swear to the gods, it was blinking. And not just blinking bright, then dull, then bright again. It flashed white, white, blue, red. White, white, blue, red. Over and over in exactly the same order and rhythm.
I have never seen this before and I don't know why.
It was so startlingly different that the phrase "UFO" actually crossed my mind before passing away just as quickly as it arose. Then I wondered if all the fireplace smoke in the air could be playing tricks on my eyes. Then I came in and checked out a couple of my most favorite spacey websites thinking there must be some grand scientific explanation. And I couldn't find anything of the sort regarding the current space weather. So, I went back outside to see if I was hallucinating. And there it was again. The brightest, lowest star blinking at me; it may be Venus for all I know. But it appears like just any bright star, except it's blinking and flashing. White, white, blue, red. White, white, blue, red. So, I said to myself, "Self, you must be hallucinating". Then I got the idea to check out the other stars. And all of the bigger, brighter stars were blinking at me! The smaller, fainter stars just glimmered with their usual sparkle. But each and every one of the larger stars blinked in vividly different colors.
The only plausible idea I can come up with is that I have been in front of the computer, on and off, for about 4 hours now and my eyes are playing tricks on themselves. But that doesn't really fit the situation either. I've been a hardcore internet junkie since 1995 and never have I seen the stars like this. And I've been a dedicated moon and stargazer for most of my life. Why did I never see this before? Was I not looking close enough? Was I not looking long enough? Did the gods just now decide to reveal this to me? Or did someone spike my 2% milk when I was looking the other way?
Even as I write this a thought occurs: maybe I'm just getting old. Perhaps now that my eyes are a little weaker I am only seeing these flashes of colors as my eyes can't handle the overall brightness of the stars. Is that possible? I wish I knew. No, that's not entirely correct. I'd like to know the answer. But, mostly, I hope, and wish for it to continue.
First star I see tonight
I wish I may, I wish I might
Have this wish I wish tonight