Great Balls of Fire!

So there I was two weeks ago, during the Taurid meteor shower. I’d stepped out for an evening stroll around 2000 Hrs central Standard Time, headed northbound. For reasons of security (family friend had a spook) and stability (bum knee was being a bum), I had a walking stick with me. This is important, because when I use a walking stick, I tend to stand straighter and look up and ahead more than down. The skies had cleared out after a passing cool front, and there weren’t too many porch lights on. The Christmas light overload has not kicked in yet, so the dark areas were nice and dark. I cruised along at a brisk pace, head up, eyes on the road and the sky. The road opens up at a park, so there’s a broad view of what’s at the foot of the long hill I walk down.

Motion caught my eye and I looked up, to the west-north-west, in time ti see a yellow-orange something hauling tail across the sky. And I mean that literally – it had a definite contrail, also glowing a little. I thought it was a jet, since I could see little flashes of what would be wingtip strobes. Except the whole thing was yellow-orange and throwing off sparks. It lasted long enough to pass the zenith on a 040 heading or so before breaking into three chunks and disappearing. I stopped, listening hard for a sonic boom or impact thump, but didn’t hear anything. Apparently the thing burned up, or no one has yet reported the impact.

I’ve seen shooting stars before, and comets, but for pure drama that one takes the prize.


3 thoughts on “Great Balls of Fire!

  1. Bum knees suck. On a slightly more on topic note, while guiding a few weeks ago my client and I were standing around waiting for it to get daylight on a nice clear morning. We must have seen at least two dozen (and that’s being conservative) shooting stars in the fifteen or twenty minutes before it got daylight.

    I’ve never seen one that was orange or visibly broke into multiple pieces though. A few with tails, but they were all just normal star-white.

  2. One might think the Taurids a favorite meteor shower of mine, and it might have been/be had I spent significant time in more southerly climate. As it is, the Perseids have a distinct advantage of nicer weather for someone who spent a few decades closer to the pole than to the equator. Then there are the Quadrantids which occur at a time that quite frigid indeed.

    OT: I am finally caught up with reading the Cat Rotator’s Quaterly from the very beginning. No hopefully I can keep up. For what it’s worth, I had to look for your explanation of cat rotation, but had the suspicion of it. $HOUSEMATE will occasionally tell some pest he has better things to do with his time than $THEIR_PET_ISSUE, such as “floss the tress in my front yard.”

    • “Sorry, I need to alphabetize my dental floss” was a popular one in grad school. We usually managed to get out of the line of sight before the pester-er realized what had been said.

      The other one was “I’ve gotta go look for a book in the architecture library.” Which really existed, but was tucked away in a strange location waaaay in the back of beyond, so well hidden that most people thought it was legend only. I kept looking for a large, ape-like librarian the few times I ventured there in truth, but heard nary an “ook.”

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