Blue Sky!

1998 Feb 9

Tha strangest thing happened today. The sky turned blue. I wasn't sure what to make of that. What could cause such a strange phenomenon? I did a WWW search and came up with a bunch of references to Raleigh Scattering. Obvious baloney. I think the Pentagon was playing around with some new high tech dyes that make the undersides of the clouds turn blue.

But then I saw something really amazing. A huge yellow disk in the middle of the blue. Wow, like it was truly bright. Almost as bright as a streetlight or a car's highbeam. I decided it was unwise to stare at it for too long. I'm not quite sure what to make of it, but it must not be quite as hot as it seemed since it didn't seem to do any damage when it landed a ways to the west of me (I couldn't really see where it came down, but I didn't see any fires or smoke. Maybe they turned it off first.)

The sky was rapidly loosing that strange blue color. Thinking all was well, I just happened to look back the other way and what do you know? there was another funny disk in the sky! Jeeze, I must have taken something a little stronger than I thought with my afternoon coffee. This second disk was just the same size as the first one but grey instead of yellow. I decided I had better investigate. I mean, really, two funny disks and a funny colored sky all in the same day? What did I do to deserve this?

Back in one of my closets, where I keep old junk I never use but don't want to throw away just yet, I found my old "Meade LX200". I seemed to remember that it had something to do with looking at distant things. It even had a thing called the "instruction book" with it. It looked like text but it was printed on that funny flat stuff my Dad used to call "paper" and clicking on the words I didn't understand didn't do a thing; wierd. Screw that, I sez, let's just see if we can make this thing work. There were a bunch of parts but they looked like they fit pretty good and after a while I think I got it right (it worked lots better when I removed the big black thing in front; there are some really kewl mirrors in there!) I tried to point it right at the funny grey disk while looking thru the "Panoptic 35" (grenade-shaped thing that fit on the back). It was really a drag trying to get it lined up right. It musta taken me 10 or 20 whole seconds to get the grey disk centered up. This thing would work a lot better if it had a decent computer.

And Wowie Zowie Batman, the grey disk was totally rad! I mean there were zillions of little circles and squiggly lines and a half dozen big dark blotches. I noticed right away that it wasn't really a disk, too. One side had been eaten by something and was all raggedy and funny. Kind of cool, though; the other side was just smooth. But it had some little black dribbles near the edge. Even the big blotches had lots of little thingies you could see. One big white one looked just like a bug on a windshield, with body parts all sprayed out in a star. Neat! It musta been there a while to be all white by now.

I decided that I would never keep this all straight unless I gave the various squiggles and blotches names so I could remember. So I called the dead bug "Tycho" and the little dribbles near the boring edge "Mare Australe" and a nice round blotch near the raggedy edge "Grimaldi". (And don't ask where I got these names, I'm not gonna tell cuz if I did you would think I was crazy and you'd be right and ...) Next to Grimaldi was a pair of smaller circles, "Sirsalis". And a little farther a dark one, "Cruger". But the kewlest of the kewl was a long skinny line that ran all the way along these guys almost down to the edge of a fuzzy, poopie circle I decided to call "Darwin". Mostly you don't give names to just plain lines but this one seemed so nifty that it is now "Rima Sirsalis". Kinda like the sound of that one :-)

But now I started to notice a lot of stuff streaming across the face of the disk. The light from the disk kept blinking on and off and I thought like it was about to burn out. But looking up, I was relieved to see that the sky was returning to its normal appearance. The grey disk was gone and the normal nightime orange glow had returned. Man, I don't know what that thing was but don't worry, it's gone now.

Bill Arnett; last updated: 1998 Feb 11