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2014 Orionid Meteor Shower
Waking up before sunrise is a good way to get a head start on the day. On Oct. 21st, waking up before sunrise could stop you in your tracks.
Blame Halley’s Comet. Every year in mid-to-late October, Earth passes through a stream of dusty debris from Comet Halley, and the pre-dawn sky can light up with a pretty display of shooting stars.
"We expect to see about 20 meteors per hour when the shower peaks on Tuesday morning, Oct 21st," says Bill Cooke, the head of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office. "With no Moon to spoil the show, observing conditions should be ideal."
Auroras Underfoot (signup)Because these meteors streak out of the constellation Orion, astronomers call them “Orionids.”
"The Orionid meteor shower is not the strongest, but it is one of the most beautiful showers of the year," notes Cooke.
The reason is its setting: The shower is framed by some of the brightest stars in the heavens. Constellations such as Taurus, Gemini and Orion provide a glittering backdrop for the display. The brightest star of all, Sirius, is located just below Orion’s left foot, a good place to point your camera while you’re waiting for meteors.
To see the show, Cooke suggests going outside one to two hours before sunrise when the sky is dark and the constellation Orion is high overhead. Lie down on a blanket with a broad view of the heavens. Although Orionids emerge from a small area near the shoulder of Orion, they will spray across the entire sky.
"Be prepared for speed," he adds. "Meteoroids from Halley’s Comet strike Earth’s atmosphere traveling 148,000 mph. Only the November Leonids are faster."
Speed is important because fast meteors have a tendency to explode. Occasionally, Orionid fireballs will leave incandescent streams of debris in their wake that linger for minutes. Such filaments of “meteor smoke” twisted by upper atmospheric winds into convoluted shapes can be even prettier than the meteors themselves.
"It really is a wonderful morning to be awake," says Cooke. "Just don’t plan on going anywhere in a hurry."
Author: Dr. Tony Phillips | Production editor: Dr. Tony Phillips | Credit: Science@NASA
‘What are you nailed to???’
Gerald May was mentioned to me today. Wow, I hadn’t heard his name in a loooong time. His books formed part of my training in spiritual direction at the Washington Theological Union many years ago.
Brimming with curiosity I pulled his book ‘Addiction and Grace’ off my shelf, and opened the old thick pages of this small insightful treatment of the nature of addiction. ‘Ah, yes,’ the familiar compassionate words spoke to me again. ‘Addiction attaches desire, bonds and enslaves the energy of desire to certain specific behaviours, things or people. These objects of attachment then become preoccupations and obsession..the same processes that are responsible for addiction to alcohol or narcotics are also responsible for addiction to ideas, work, relationships, power, moods, fantasies, and an endless variety of other things…
WE ARE ALL ADDICTS,’ he continues.
And it is true. Maybe our addictions do not destroy the functionality of our lives, causing us to lose the people or possessions close to our hearts, but there is something to be considered here. If we are called to live a life that is free, a life that is a full experience of who we are, then any addiction lessens this life, keeps us stagnant, numbed, and even disassociated from very basics human movements such as emotion, love, fulfillment and vulnerability.
As Gerald mentioned, the word ‘attachment,’ comes from French meaning, get this, ‘nailed to.’ Addiction nails us by misdirecting will for the fulfillment of a certain desire and attaching it to something or one that does not really meet that desire, and hence keeps us hidden from ourselves. How functional is a life that is hiding from itself? And the more we peal back the onion to get to the core of our deepest, truest self, the more any addiction however slight, becomes a glaring smudge on the window of our souls.
It is interesting how willfull we can become in the face of ‘what we must have,’ and yet what a contradiction for it can feel very free to act on this attachment yet this attachment binds our freedom, our will, and our sense of dignity. Why does it hurt our dignity? It wields this sword because on some level we lie to ourselves about our relationship to our addiction, with a host of rationalizations.
Maybe we are addicted to a thought about ourselves, or a way we need to do something, or the perception of some dialogue we wish to have, or had…it is not only drugs, alcohol and cigarettes, though those can be easy to site as destructive addictions, even to use as rationalizations to forge a stronger iron clad bond to the ‘private’ unseen addiction that exists behind our closed door.
So what are you nailed to? We are all addicts, all in the same pool, needing to surrender to something greater than our present level of understanding and insight, we might call it grace, or Spirit, or even Life Force. The best place to start is an honest admission of our internal affair, and to acknowledge where we are attached. There are great indicators of addiction, to come soon….for now I simply ask,
‘What are YOU nailed to?’