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Sunday, March 4, 2007

Cloudy Skies


It happened again! The never-fail situation of eager anticipation of a major astronomical event, clouded by errr... cloudy skies!

The day of March 3 dawned bright enough, with the usual light cloud cover normally giving way to brilliant blue skies. I scanned through the weather websites only to find a white blot on the radar map headed straight for my area. My neighbor had kindly promised me a walkout on her balcony to view/photograph the eclipse without too many trees impeding the view, but the clear skies didn't hold up.

The moon rose in totality, under heavy cloud cover. We had been to a friend's house for dinner and amid snide comments on the zillion taboos we were breaking ( Munching on pakoras during a lunar eclipse, no less, sin compounded by watching Mallika Sherawat slinking sinuously on the large screen TV), we still stampeded onto the chilly deck to catch a fleeting glimpse of a 2/3rd moon, just as the shadow was moving away at the end of the eclipse.

I had zero luck viewing the recently spectacular Comet McNaught, captured here in the early stages of its glory by another resident of the same township, a photo that had me turning green with envy the day he posted it on spaceweather.com. I dragged my son out in freezing weather one evening at sunset, and we stood frozen-fingered with binoculars, trying in vain to locate the comet near the western horizon. The ever-present clouds blocked our view. We gave up and returned home after half an hour of numbing wind chills.

Now, if M can draw me a 'Clear Skies' Krishna, maybe tacking that on my office wall will do the trick...

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