August 2016
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Shooting Stars

As a young person, and a young adult, I loved to wish on shooting or falling stars.  I always felt a sense of cosmic wonder at the sight of them.  At the time I knew nothing about meteor showers.

Beginning mid-July and peaking August 12, the Perseid Meteor Shower, which is debris from the Swift-Tuttle comet entering our atmosphere, will rain down shooting stars at a top rate of 60 or more per hour.

The Perseids and Leonids (which peak around November 17) are my favorites.  I have been known to frequently venture onto one of the many ridge tops in Sonoma and Napa County, to spend the wee hours of the morning waiting and watching for the shooting star spectacular.   Sometimes being profusely rewarded, and other times being shut-out by cloudy, foggy weather.

The Greeks believed shooting stars were human souls rising and falling.  Jews and Christians believed them to be angels or demons.  Wishing on a shooting star is thought to have originated with Ptolemy, the Greek astronomer around AD 127-151.  The act of wishing on a shooting star makes the wish come true.

The child within me never ceases to delight in the heavenly spectacle.  This year, if you chance to see a shooting star, make a wish.  May it come true.

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