Sunday, August 11, 2013

3760 Meteors

Sunday, August 11, 2013

I believe every human has a finite number of heartbeats.  I don't intend to waste
any of mine running around doing exercises.
--Neil Armstrong--


Supposed to be a great meteor shower overnight, peaking between 3 and 5 am.  There's no point in my trying.  There's so much ambient light here, the night sky is pink.

Jay loved meteors.  Before we were married, we used to go out to the fields, and lie on the hood of the car to watch.  After we were married, we'd watch from the deck at the house (what is now known as the country house). I watched with him, but I wasn't as excited as he was.

Jay had some oddities, well a lot of oddities.  He was bothered by florescent lights, said he could see the flicker.  I am also bothered by them.  I don't see a flicker, but I always hear a hum.

We discovered that we both hear meteors!    One night he shyly asked, "Did you hear it?"  I was amazed that he'd asked.  It's a eeeeeeeesh or hissing kind of sound that ends with the meteor burning out.  He, like I, never ever mentions it to anyone because when we did in the past, we'd been told over and over that we're imagining it, that it's impossible, that the meteors are so far away that the sound, even if there was one, would be long delayed --- therefore we're crazy, and people laughed at us.  But people have been reporting audible meteors for more than a thousand years.  And have been told they're crazy for more than a thousand years.

Today I read an article that explains it (of course I can't find it now...[Later - I found it!]).  Meteors produce VLF (very low frequency) radio waves.  Those radio waves travel at the speed of light, so one will receive them at the same time one sees the meteor.  Humans can't usually hear the sounds, but under certain conditions, the sound is magnified and reflected by objects --- like for example, for Jay and me, the hood of a car, the expanse of glass behind us on the deck, or, surprise surprise, wire-framed glasses.

We're not nuts.  We heard them.

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