NASA had predicted the Perseid Meteor showers on Aug 11th and 12th. The annual event in August is due to a comet “Swift Tuttle” which flew around the Sun in 1992. Although the next trip around the Sun is only in 2126, the remnants of the comet is what causes the meteor shower. Earth passes every year through the trail of debris left behind by the comet. Scientists from NASA had predicted at least 60-200 shooting stars per hour in the northern part of the sky
The predictions in the southern hemisphere of our planet was not quite promising. But, being an ardent space enthusiast since childhood days, I wasn’t the one to give up on even the slightest opportunity. I spent quite a bit of time on the roof of the house hoping to catch some live action of this interstellar event (and also come up with wish or two).
Of course living in the heart of Chennai city has its perks; but not tonight. The darker the sky, the better are your chances of spotting them. The light pollution and dust from the surroundings caused a dip in my enthusiasm, as all I could see was a bright moon and a smog filled sky. After an hour of patience filled wait, the metropolitan glow really had me annoyed. Slowly as I began to accept the fate, I plunge into my mind. As I probe into my thoughts, questions about our life and existence pour out like a water from a broken dam.
All the activities, struggles, joy, hatred and war exist only on an insignificant small scale when compared to the whole expanding universe. I wonder why we get stuck in the cycle of life and death. Sometimes, all it takes is looking up at the vast sky and understanding how our living is just a tiny tiny fraction of a much larger creation. Some say that we are all as old as the universe itself because matter in its form can neither be created nor destroyed.
“Looking at these stars suddenly dwarfed my own troubles and all the gravity of terrestrial life. I thought of their unfathomable distance, and the slow inevitable drift of their movements out of the unknown past into the unknown future.”
— H. G. Wells, The Time Machine, 1895
With a broken heart I crawl into my bed giving up my hunt for meteors this year. With unanswered questions pricking my mind, I close my eyes. Then it all starts. As I try to sleep, I get lost in galaxies that are yet to be found.
My fascination for space keeps on increasing as I try to contemplate the answers behind our evolution and purpose of life.