Grasshopper Soup: Little meteor makes a big bang
Special to the Sun
TAHOE/TRUCKEE and#8212; Wow! That was a close one. What went through your mind when you heard that meteor explode last Sunday morning? Fortunately not the meteor!
The loud boom was heard just before 8 a.m. If you were still asleep you missed perhaps one of the most major astronomical events of our lifetime. But donand#8217;t feel bad, because those of us who heard it had no idea what it was either. Even later in the evening the reports about the mysterious sonic boom were as varied as political opinions. One is just as good as another.
The loud explosion could have been a predator drone attack or a missile from North Korea. Weapons could begin turning up just about anywhere these days.
Some reports said the meteor was as big as a washing machine. Others said it was only as big as a basketball. So far no one has offered up any explanations as to how they know how big it was. You would have to be close enough to see it to know.
Maybe somebody just happened to be flying along as fast as the meteor and saw it just before it exploded. How else could they know its size? Scientists have studied meteor size before, itand#8217;s true, but there hasnand#8217;t been enough time for anyone to search California, gather up all the pieces and put them back together again to be sure, so, whoever says they know how big it was probably works for the government.
They get paid big bucks to make educated guesses about things that explode while nobodyand#8217;s watching, and who to party with in your Colombian hotel room while youand#8217;re waiting for the president to arrive.
Knowing how big the meteor was is kind of like Nancy Pelosi saying we had to pass the health care bill so we can find out whatand#8217;s in it. The meteor had to explode into a million little pieces before we could figure out how big it was. But itand#8217;s never too late to speculate, especially if you work for the government. But it all depends on if youand#8217;re a Republican or a Democrat, or just normal people like us.
Politics is about as scientific as it can be, which doesnand#8217;t say much for science. In many circles, objectivity in politics is as rare as a meteor shower in your bathroom.
Yes, the meteor met a very tragic Humpty Dumpty end, apparently high above the Sierra Nevada mountains, somewhere between Desolation Wilderness and Tuolumne Meadows, down by Yosemite. I just hope no pygmy owls, Clark Nutcrackers, mountain chickadees or flying squirrels got hit by hot meteor debris. Stellar jays I donand#8217;t care that much about.
What a way to kick off Earth Day. If that meteor had been larger it could have literally kicked earth into oblivion, and us right along with it, if there is an oblivion.
Donand#8217;t worry. Extinction is just a physical thing, or rather, the lack of a physical thing.
Knowledgeable physicists think physical reality might not really exist anyway. If it does, they say it might just be a hologram (a photographic image) projected onto the universe from the farthest reaches of the universe, like from the mind of God. So, like they say, its all good dude. When extinction comes it will only hurt for a little while, then weand#8217;ll meet the projectionist and everything will be just fine.
Speaking of everything being just fine, that was a beautiful summer we just had. It lasted a little longer than the meteor. Two girls sunbathing at the end of the Grove Street pier in Tahoe City said they jumped in the lake Sunday. Maybe thatand#8217;s what the loud noise was.
If the weather man was right, weand#8217;ll see snowflakes Wednesday night and Thursday morning, after this column penetrates the earthand#8217;s atmosphere and explodes into little pieces so we can figure out whatand#8217;s in it.
Hopefully summer will return Friday, and weand#8217;ll know it was a big one come September.
Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, former college instructor and ski instructor. He has a B.A. and an M.A.T. from Gonzaga University. He has lived at Lake Tahoe for 30 years.