Stars and Back to School...

It's been a busy last half of August and September is shaping up to be no different. 

Last year around March I wrote about possibly meeting a distant relative while stargazing and trying to find the Comet Panstarrs. Things are still not confirmed but the chances are looking better than good.  I friended him on Facebook at that time. The week of

Pictures that Dave Shot
of the Comet in a night sky

Another shot of the Comet Panstarrs

the 16th of August this year, he posted that he had two seats available in his car to go stargazing.  I replied that I would like to go as I needed to get out of the house. We met at a church parking lot and headed out. Unfortunately there were heavy clouds and we had to turn back as you have to have a clear view of Polaris (North star) to set up your telescope. You never know about the clouds here in Oklahoma, because by 9:00 p.m. the sky was clear. Grrrr!

                 This is a stunning piece on watching the stars
                                         in Yosemite National Park
                                 The following Saturday he texted me and said he was going again and wanted to know if I wanted to tag along. The answer of course was "yes" Off we went again with cloud cover out to western Oklahoma to Geary, OK and a little north of American Horse Lake. The reason is, you need to have a dark sky with no city light interference.  We got the telescope set up and started trying to get reference points logged into the telescopes computer. What a process. What we didn't know was the inserts to his viewing lens of the telescope were out of calibration and we weren't getting to see what was planned.  No matter
what...I loved every minute of it. To see the heavens that included the Milky Way Galaxy. WOW!!! It was truly magnificent. He kept apologizing, I told him no apology was necessary as I was in awe of the night sky, almost to the point of tears. We were out there till one in the morning.  He showed me star clusters of millions of stars that to the eye looking through the lens looks like a fuzzy cotton ball. We spied Cassiopeia and a very fuzzy Saturn on her axis. I did get to see her rings.  

We heard the coyotes singing and saw a huge owl land in front of us trying to capture the many field mice scurrying about on the road as we were leaving. He managed to get out of the way of the car, what a wing span! Even saw a cow eating on the wrong side of the fence. At first we thought it was a deer which just about gave us a heart attack as you don't want to hit a deer or have a deer run into you out in the middle of nowhere. The evening was wonderful and I look forward to going again soon. 

Another school year started and the gazillion of students flooded into Norman again with the largest freshman class ever.  Parking is still a mess.
It truly is amazing how students can't read.  It says Faculty/Staff parking only or specialty parking tow away zone in front of our building and the dummies will still park there and get towed.  One morning I was getting out of my car and students pulled into a space with the Faculty/Staff only sign right in front of them. I let them get totally out of their car and as they were starting to leave I shouted to them that they would get a ticket and pointed to the sign in front of them.  They looked at me as if they had no clue, looked at the sign and the guy went "oh."  They moved, reluctantly, but they did move. 

The campus has become a "No Smoking" campus. It's amazing as to how many foreign students smoke.
They will hide among the cars to puff on their ciggies, or go across the road into peoples yards and smoke even with the "No Smoking" signs posted in their yards. There is a fine if they get caught. They don't care as a lot of these foreign students have diplomatic immunity and one even drives Maserati, money to burn...literally!  Sad...

The mini dorm situation is going strong again. Seven and eight cars in a two car driveway for one house, lining the street to the point of difficulty for the regular neighbors getting in and out of their driveways. I just hope the house to the north of me refrains from having their 3:00 a.m. parties this year with bonfires and ear shattering music to where the kids have to shout at each other to talk. 

This afternoon I had to call the police as two trucks were parked opposite of each other on the street. If a firetruck had to get through the space there wouldn't be much left of the trucks. They came and asked the boys to move their vehicles and to pick up the trash on their lawn and dispose of it. Oh such is life...

Not too many more days until I retire...Yippee!!!

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