Mizar and Alcor

Last night I was hanging with Mizar and Alcor and they were rocking. It’s not often I get to hang with M and A and they were bright.  I was chilling with a sweet cigar and my new fave drink….Jameson and Ginger.  Nectar of the gods.  It was a perfect night to hang with M&A.

The night was cool and clear.  No sign of bugs, just the sounds of nature (spring frogs) and M&A shining.

Who the hell is Mizar and Alcor?  Simple, they are the two “double” stars you see in the handle of the Ursa Major (the big dipper).  Mizar is the brighter of the two.  It’s a good test of eyesight to be able to discern the two stars.  However, they are not a double star.  As a matter of fact Mizar and Alcor are about 3 light years apart…give or take a light year.  Mizar is 78 light years from the sun and Alcor 81.  However they are part of the nearest star cluster to our sun Collinder 285.  Sounds like a bad sci-fi movie involving kitchen equipment.  There is actually a Mizar A and a Mizar B.  Probably way too much information. 

Why do I tell you all this, don’t know.  Maybe cuz I can.  There is something about lying on your back looking up into the stars and just watching.  I have a great deck that looks almost due north.  Polaris (the north star) is easy to find and I use it to navigate my way around the heavens.

Last time I did this for any length of time I was watching a meteor shower.  Have you ever sat out and watched a meteor shower?  If you haven’t, put it on your list of things to do.  Soon.   Actually put these dates on your calendar – August 12 & 13.  Those are the predicted dates for the peak of the Perseid meteor shower.  The best news is that those dates coincide with a new moon so there will be no moon interference.  I hate moon interference, especially when it’s a big ass moon (redundant I think) shining bright in the sky.  

There is an art to watching a meteor shower.  The art of seeing but not focusing, the art of eye’s open meditation vs sleeping.  The key is to lie on your back looking up at the sky and letting the sky fill your field of vision rather than you trying to see the sky.  You have to slow down your blink rate so there is a fine balance between letting your eyes get too dry and blinking and missing a meteor.  You have to let the stars fill your vision and then wait for any perceived movement and quickly focus your vision on the movement.  Sometimes it may be a satellite, sometimes a plane and sometimes a meteor.  It’s all good.  It’s peaceful and relaxing and refreshing.

Wow – that was a side trip I had no idea I’d take us on. 

Anyway, last night I only saw one meteor, one satellite but had M&A for a couple hours all to myself, at least that is how it felt to me.  I got up off the lounger on the deck refreshed and relaxed.  Ready for another day of positudeness. 

I’ll check back in with a reminder as we get closer to august.  Cheers

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One response to “Mizar and Alcor

  1. Pingback: Gotta Stay Up Late « other side of the mirror

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