The rest of my week, that is. I'm set for jobs for the rest of the week and most of next week also. THAT is the way for a year as a sub to be. I much prefer this to years past when I've been up early in the morning and not gotten a job. Now I get to pick and choose.
I subbed at a middle school and then at an alternative school today. The teacher has a split shift. What i liked was it gave me a chance to have lunch out. Something I don't usually get. Admittedly, it was only a Subway sandwich, but it was sustenance that I did not have to cart around in my bag all day.
I have to bight the bullet and try to get up in the next few mornings to see if I can get a clean shot at Comet ISON. It is in the constellation Leo right now...speeding through it, really. If you can identify Mars it's supposed to be nearby. I am not certain whether it is naked eye stuff yet, but many astronomers remain hopeful...as do I.
I have a weird history of fascination with the stars. I was a dreamer when i was in school...still am, really, but it's something I can control now...well, I kinda have to. Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah. I liked space and remember all to keenly the excitement I felt every time one of the Voyagers would come near one of the outer planets. i still have newspaper clippings from when they sailed by Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus...no, not yours. I followed the, what seemed to me, endless journeys of craft like Magellan and eagerly awaited Cassini and several other of the probes from the late 80s and 1990s. I bought astronomy magazines on a semi-regular basis just so i knew what I was looking at. When Comet Hyakutake shown in the skies I tried to take photos, but it seems that during my college days some of my film got lost and never developed.
I had my dad's 30X telescope for the longest time, then they bought me a 120X telescope for Christmas and I was extremely happy, though i had no idea what I was doing, I was very enthusiastic. I now know what I probably should have had was a larger objective lens than I had, but, as a kid, more power is more better. So I missed out on ever observing low light enigmas like nebulae, but at least I got a good look at Saturn and Jupiter's moons. How many kids today go out and do that?
I eventually inherited my Grandfather's homemade 6 inch reflector, which has, with time, been relegated to an attic somewhere, and I am not even sure where all the parts are. As a steward of my grandfather's great work and achievement, I was not worthy. My mother will still remind me, if I ask, how he lovingly ground the glass himself and had it silvered and built the damned thing. Clearly, Grandpa had a lot more storage room than I do...and I have a lot of crap in storage...but, enough of that.
I remember trying to witness the long awaited crash of a comet into Jupiter. Of course, I did not have the internet, nor know how to use it to great effect that year, so I was not aware that the event took place BEHIND Jupiter and out of my view, still, I tried. I've never been one to let lack of know-how and basic reason to get in the way of setting myself up for failure.
I have watched as Hubble made breathtaking pictures and as astronomers have used various forms of interferometry to discern the orbit of extra solar planets. I have seen the pictures beamed back by the Huygens probe of Titan's surface, with its liquid methane rivers and lakes. I continue to foolow the progress of the Voyagers and Pioneer 10. This is a great time to be alive, but, like my Grandfather who turned his eyes skyward, I won't live nearly long enough to see all I want.
This year, there are at least two comets. I took a few pictures of Comet Panstarrs. Now, I am gunning for bigger game. ISON is expected to be brighter that PANSTARRS by some margin. It remains to be seen whether it is naked-eye visible in daylight as some had expected, and it doesn't help that the majority of the close pass will take place in our cloudy season. Still, I am hopeful. So, in the morning, before the family awakes, I will brave the cold temperatures hoping that clouds do not bar my way. I suspect they will, but I will look out the window, anyway.