Aurigids After-Party One-Question Quiz
So it is four in the morning, September 1st, the bars have long since stopped serving alcohol for the night, and you've had too many of those in-lieu-of-booze Red Bulls, and you are wide awake. What should you do next? Should you...?
a) go home and watch television until you pass out on the sofa
b) go to the after-party of your friend's friend
c) stumble around the streets of West Hollywood for a while
d) have French fries and pancakes at a 24-hour diner
e) sober-up, get in your car, drive to a light-pollution free area, recline on the hood, and observe the Aurigids meteor shower
You are incorrect if you chose answer "a." Going home and passing out on the sofa as infomercials pump subliminal messages into your dreams is just boring. If you chose answer "b," you too are incorrect. You are also a desperate Los Angeles cliche. If you chose answer "c," you are very incorrect. You will probably break a heel or get a sleep-deprived headache from those early-morning, low-flying helicopters that circle around looking for celebrities who are committing petty offenses. Answer "d" is also grossly incorrect. 24-hour diners are nasty. You don't eat in them during normal business hours, so why go when they are filled to capacity with ready-to-vomit post-drunk patrons?
If you chose answer "e," you are correct! You are an impressive, albeit slightly geeky (but in the sexy hipster sort of way) individual who is smart enough to take advantage of a rare astral opportunity. You have already read this week's "Griffith Observatory Sky Report" and know that there is a good chance that the Aurigids meteor shower, a brightly colored, dense, once-in-a-lifetime astrological space-oddity will make an appearance tonight on the West Coast between the hours of 3:30 am and 5:30 am. You have called your friend in the Valley and insisted that they allow you to camp out on their lawn with a reclining beach chair and a laptop because NASA needs you for the Auragid Laptop Meteor Observation Project. You have ignored the rolling of your Valley-friend's eyeballs at this and gone on to explain that the Aurigid meteors are so rare that only three people alive today are known to have seen them in their lifetime. In short, you rock because you will have something interesting to say about science, technology, and celestial fulfillment at brunch later in the day.
If you answered the Aurigids After-Party One-Question Quiz incorrectly, this is what you should know: The Auragids meteors are actually bits of debris left over from the Keiss Comet, and are called "Auragids" because the "shooting stars" appear to come from the Auragida (Chariot) constellation in the northeastern part of the sky. The SETI Institute has a calculator that will tell you more about the origins or the Aurigids and how well you will be able to see the meteor shower from your location. You can now go fourth into the world with the confidence of an amateur astronomer who dabbles in rocket science from time to time.
Photo by the holyllama via Flickr.