I am so jealous; as green with envy as ISON appeared to my sister this morning. It just isn’t fair – I’m the space weather fanatic, and she’s the one who catches a glimpse of ISON.
Early this morning she left Battleford for Saskatoon. Moments after hitting highway 16, listening happily to talk radio, a “large furry brown ass” assaults the front end of her car. Luckily instinct kicked in; slamming her brakes hard, skidding to a stop at the side of the road. The deer shook it off; much less fazed than my gob smacked sister. Completely un-nerved, she gathered herself for a minute before stepping out to inspect the damage. As she quivered, talk radio guy gushed about comet ISON on the eastern horizon.
I expressed relief that her car wasn’t damaged too badly. Then I made her describe exactly how she encountered ISON. Like a child wanting to hear a story over and over again, I had her explain exactly where she was standing, what time it was, how the sky looked and what her reaction was.
Her description left my breathless, not only could I picture the morning, I could smell the air and feel the chill of early morning frost. Not a cloud in the sky; a tangerine glow rolled out in anticipation of the rising sun. Ice fog reluctantly releasing its grip; tipping its hat to the approaching sun, pleased with itself for coating every last blade of grass with ice crystals. Sorry it wouldn’t have a chance to marvel as sunlight bounced off ice fog’s creation. Not a hint of wind; by all accounts wind stepped aside – so glorious was the imminent sunrise.
The voice on the radio sent her gaze to the eastern sky – that’s when she saw it, ISON appeared as a greenish blob on the horizon. Her reaction warmed my heart – she swears she did a happy dance around the car in my honour. She gushed about Saskatoon radio guy and his enthusiasm for all things space. Radio guy apparently reports space weather every day before sunrise; he tells listeners exactly where and at what time to look for ISON depending on which road you happen to be driving. I practically jumped out of my skin – hats off to you radio guy, you just made my day.
I don’t hold much optimism that ISON will survive an encounter with the sun’s atmosphere on Nov. 28. Yesterday many believed the nucleus had broken apart; today paints a brighter picture – new images seem to show it still intact. Time will tell – in a few days we’re in for another cosmic let down, or on the off chance ISON escapes the sun’s atmosphere intact – a celestial show of epic proportions.
While I wait – I can’t help but feel envious my sister hit a deer this morning. If not for that deer and Saskatoon radio guy – she never would have laid eyes on comet ISON.