The One That Got Away (TOTGA)

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The One That Got Away (TOTGA)

Post by Nemo » Thu Jun 18, 2020 4:54 pm

I enjoyed watching the Silver Anniversary video for APOD. While I was watching, I was reminded of the one time that I witnessed something an astronomical event that, I think, was APOD-worthy - except that I didn't have a camera. I call it "the one that got away" (TOTGA).
My TOTGA occurred about ten years ago. It was early morning in mid-January, about 20 minutes before dawn. I was in Chicago, at a bus stop, studying the sky (and trying to stay warm) while waiting for a bus. That day, the clouds were very unusual: cirrus clouds (I believe), but instead of a few wispy clouds, they formed a solid layer of cloud across the sky, something I've not seen before or since. As I watched, I noticed that the cloud to the east was bright, while to west it was dark; and the line of dark was creeping from east to west. Then it hit me: the dark area was the Earth's shadow being cast onto the cloud by the Sun, which was just below the horizon! It was awesome! And me, without a camera ...
Anyway, that's my TOTGA. Do you have one?

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Re: The One That Got Away (TOTGA)

Post by Ann » Fri Jun 19, 2020 5:07 am

Thanks for telling us this story. You really paint a vivid picture of this TOTGA in my mind.

I have seen many fine little things, but never a TOTGA. The closest thing to a TOTGA that I've come to was a night years ago, about 2 a.m. in the summer. I was not usually up so late, but I had been sitting in my bedroom behind drawn blinds writing something, and I went into my kitchen to get a glass of water. And I just stared. I'm sure this was July, possibly even mid-July, and the sky is not supposed to show even the slightest sign of dawn at 2 a.m. in mid-July at a latitude of 55°36'21.13"N, where I live. Yet the sky was impossibly bright, lit up by a magnificent network of icily bluish-green "veins" rising from the north and reaching ghostly "fingers" across almost all the sky that I could see from my kitchen window. The filigree of luminescence created a sort of "almost-daylight" of spooky icy green, set against a black background. If the clouds had visibly moved, you could have created a science fiction movie out of them. "Attack of the Sky", or something.

What I saw was, of course, noctilucent clouds. I had never seen them before.

On another occasion, maybe in late August, I was on a bus, and it wasn't late, but sufficiently late for daylight to have started fading. A girl and a boy in their late teens got on the bus. "Look at the Sun", the girl said and pointed.

And I looked. And I saw the Sun hanging near the horizon, and it was so wan and pale. I'm not sure exactly what I was thinking, except that I had an almost dreamy feeling that something was almost magically strange.

"That's not the Sun, that's the Moon", the boy said. And it was. :oops:

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