WE “SAW” IT !!

Asteroid 2004 BL86.     Well, we were seeing it but we didn’t know it — but it was worth it!

It’s a cold, cold night here in the Far North.   This cold —


Those are the numbers my car’s rearview mirror reported as I parked in the right-hand lane of a lonely country road.    Son and I went out at the appointed time,  11:19 p.m., to be exact,  to watch the asteroid pass by overhead in the constellation of Cancer.
We passed many deer on the dark roads to get there,  and a large dog was barking in the distance, hopefully tied up because we were alone in the midst of large fields,  cold and dark in the moonlight.   The moon was a lovely hazy thing,  but not too bright for skywatching.


And then we took out our binoculars and set up a telescope.

The telescope is black, but the reflection from my taillights colored it red.

Up above there were light bands of haze across the stars,  but we were able to locate Jupiter and Sirius and the cute little star cluster called M44, in Cancer.  The asteroid was scheduled to transit M44.

We looked.  We gazed.  We stared.  Our fingers turned numb…so did our nose and toes and everything else.

We saw very dim stars and watched to see if their location changed slowly.   We made patterns in the stars and watched to see if the patterns changed shape or if one of the little stars extended itself away from the pattern.

We checked Google Sky on our phones.

Ast Jupiter

My attention strayed and I found Jupiter  with my telescope and enjoyed seeing its bands,  but it was too hazy to see some of its moons.

Our bodies continued to turn “Uncomfortably Numb,”  and we were finally forced to get into the car…and return home.


But we checked —  there was the passage of 2004BL86!

ast path

Exactly where we were looking,  at exactly the right time.

We must have seen it.


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