I must learn some astronomy.

It was a lovely day here in Maryland today. About 50 degrees Fahrenheit at the highest.

I went out to peek at the full moon under the stars just a bit before sunrise. It seemed the stars were moving. I stared and stared and finally, dimly, realized it was wispy clouds floating by at a pretty fast pace, not stars moving. The air at ground level was perfectly still.

Airplanes flew over, high at this time of the night/early morning. Phantom star movement continued as the clouds raced then one very faint point of light really moved! The stars around it remained still. It was faint but still discernable and then it just faded away. The movement was slow and with a slight arch.

I’ve seen “shooting stars”, they move fast and straight. This was different. Was it a satellite I wonder?

The sky changed from generic dark to blue and the clouds became more obvious as they pinked up with the rising sun.

I need to take an astronomy class. Night owls like me should know these things. Now the sun is up and I find my head nodding so I’ll take that as a signal to stop noding and go sleep.

a bit of reading later + help from some noders and I’ve got these sources to study:
  • Strange lights in the night sky by Rook who really did see a satellite
  • http://www.heavens-above.com/main.asp recommended by liveforever who says “Very probably a satellite. You can check, if you have the exact location and time.” (I do and will)
  • psydereal’s Look, the stars are falling down to remember one reason to love stars
  • knile said “ Might've been Geminids you saw. Peak was a week ago. Happy Holidays!”
  • winter solstice
  • summer solstice
  • autumnal equinox
  • constellation
  • vernal equinox
  • analemma
  • amatur astronomy by Tmaq has a ton of good softlinks plus his homepage which features http://www.mtwilson.edu/Science/HK_Project/ the Mount Wilson Observatory Science page.
  • Doyle's Aperture matters and The great globular star cluster in Hercules - very nice info on plus great softlinks I've also found:
  • http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/index.cfm http://darkskyinstitute.org/astronomy.html ("AN ASTRONOMY COURSE FOR STUDENTS USING THE INTERNET") I'm lucky to have some good local resources:
  • The Baltimore Science Museum
  • http://www.astro.umd.edu/
  • some good google caches on the search terms "nasa astronomy observatory public" and "UMCP astronomy observatory" - (active pages no longer available)
  • franki recommends www.spaceweather.com and says "They have a mailing list that sends out whenever something interesting is happening. Well worth a look. Mailing list only sends out 2 or 3 times a week on average."
  • Any other E2 and/or internet resource suggestions would be most welcome.
    please /msg me