So Rachel got a big email this week from Ella’s school, telling her to not miss the satellite flare that would take place tonight, in our southeastern sky. The email declared that the flare “would light up the sky like the moon!” and that it was an experience our kids would certainly not want to miss.
Well, Rachel forwarded the email to me, with a simple note: I want to do this with the kids.
Now, while we’re not the most science oriented family in the northern hemisphere, we’re not anti-science either. We encourage both kids to explore the world around them from both a scientific and poetic standpoint, so Rachel’s desire made sense. Especially for Jon; my son is infatuated with anything that moves, appears, or seems to belong in the sky. He’s constantly pointing out planes to us, and whenever he sees the sun in the morning, he points and says, “Dere’s the sun! See it? See it? It’s up dere!” as if it had somehow missed a day.
He does the same thing for the moon.
Anyway, we told Jon that we would go out tonight to look at the moon and also see a very special satellite that would shine bright light on us. Jon immediately started saying, “Saddle-ite?”, and pointing to the night sky. He couldn’t wait.
We rushed through bath, hair, and pajamas in order to make it outside for the premium seats. The moon was huge (still is, as I type this) and there was a crisp shot of chilly in the air. We oriented our chairs and piled up under blankets and commenced to waiting for this sure-t0-be amazing event.
After about twenty minutes, Rachel points to the sky. “Is that it?”
I turn my head in time to see what seemed to be a plane light suddenly dim as it moved awkwardly through the sky. And as soon as I’d seen it, it was gone.
“I don’t know,” I said. “But if so, that sucked.”
“Tell me about it,” Rachel said.
The light that was supposed to be “brighter than the moon!” was no brighter than a low flying plane. It’s like expecting to hear someone break the sound barrier and instead hearing a fly fart. It was not impressive in the slightest. Even Jon asked, “Did we miss it?”
We packed up our gear and trudged back inside.
“We should’ve just watched TV,” Ella said as she took off her jacket. Jon immediately chanted, “TV! TV! TV!”
They went to bed instead.
So when my kids grow up to write plays, or practice law, or do anything that’s not science related, you can blame it all on tonight, and the failure of a satellite to live up to its billing.
Given a chance to impress my kids, science instead went lame.