Predictions for a possibly amazing meteor shower were running wild late last week. I wanted to take some photos and my daughter wanted to stay up late. We both thought it would be fun to do something cool with each other, so we headed out in search of something. Since some of the predictions suggested the meteors produced by this shower could be much brighter than normal, we thought it could be cool to set up where a cityscape could be on the horizon in the foreground. Sadly, this is DC, and there is no real distinctive cityscape except that the one shot from the Netherlands Carillon of the Capitol, Washington Monument, and Lincoln Memorial.
Since the Camelopardalids radiant was supposed to be near Polaris, we thought setting up at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial where we could look north across the Tidal Basin at the Washington Monument and U.S. Mint could be an interesting location to start and then based on how things went and what we saw on Twitter, we would try some other locations as the night went on.
By 12:30am, we hadn’t seen anything and we only saw disappointed people on Twitter, so we packed up and headed to the exurbs where, like everyone else, we still didn’t see didn’t see much of anything and then went home.
Checking the few photos I did take, I saw a light streak in a 30 second exposure taken just after midnight that I’m not quite sure about. I couldn’t see any trace of pulsing or flashing lights that airplanes and helicopters have. I think it’s on trajectory that traces through the expected radiant, which suggests meteor, but it doesn’t have the form, shape or color fringing that most meteor photos display. That leaves satellite, but I don’t know enough about them to know it would be possible to see one that close to the northern horizon at that hour…particularly through the urban light conditions.
On April 17, 2012, the Space Shuttle Discovery was flown from Florida to Washington Dulles International Airport so that the Shuttle can be permanently displayed at the National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center. Discovery made the trip atop a specially modified NASA 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. Before landing at Dulles, the Shuttle was flown over the National Mall area in downtown Washington, DC.
In this photo, the aircraft combo is preparing to make a west to east pass on the south side of the Mall from behind the Lincoln Memorial. Construction workers that are renovating the Reflecting Pool paused for a moment watch the Shuttle fly by.
The Hirshhorn Museum began running an exhibit this past Thursday by Doug Aitken called “SONG 1” that wraps the museum in cinematic projected video images and music from sunset to midnight. Read more about the exhibit in the Washington Post and at the Hirshhorn’s website.
We made a quick stop after the Capitals game last night, but could only stay a couple minutes with a couple tired kids and an early swim meet in the morning. I barely had enough time to walk down Independence Ave and look at it for a moment, taking a couple handheld shots just to start getting a feel. I’ll be going back a few times before the exhibit ends on May 13.
There was good news and bad news last night. The Washington Capitals lost their second game in a row to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the NHL Eastern Conference Semifinals and dropped to 0-2 in their series. When we got home from the game, we heard the news that American forces had killed Osama Bin Laden and that a crowd was forming at the White House to celebrate. I wiped the memory car, stuck it back in the camera and drove back downtown to see what I could see. I saw a lot of Caps fans (including @cnichols14) and a lot of happy people.
The photos here (and on flickr) are of some of those Capitals fans. There’s also an odd one of a guy (I think) in a Penguins t-shirt with some kind of dragon mask/box on his head. Also check out Russian Machine Never Breaks and @rinkrebel‘s flickr steam for more Caps fans in the crowd outside the White House. (I’m sure there are others, but I don’t know what or where they are.)
I think I grabbed some other decent shots that have no Caps connection and should be the subject of a follow up post. I also have plenty of photos from the game, but those are going to wait until later, too.