We call them shooting stars; we make wishes when we see them and we blame both good and bad luck on their presence, but meteors should be more than a trivialized, random bit of nature in our lives. Similar to other storied forces of nature, meteors have a duality about them that allows for stunning displays of beauty to mask the power of world-ending destructive force.
Wish Upon a Star
(images via astronet, jkforum, aresauburn)
Entire frameworks of mythology have been founded upon the idea that iron came down to man from above, as a gift from the gods. At first glance the idea seems silly, and we even wonder just how people came up with that idea. On deeper examination, historians and anthropological paleontologists have come to the now-obvious point that, while the ancients may have been primitive, they weren’t idiots. They were able to recognize that the globs of iron they found in craters fell from the sky, and they watched the stars incessantly. At that point in our early years, it was only a matter of simple deduction to figure out that gods above us were trying to help us out, since we didn’t yet have the knowledge to smelt iron. One can’t help but note that it must have been even more beautiful to watch a meteor shower, with zero light-pollution or smog, all the while thinking it was the direct work of gods.
A Different Perspective
(images via greenthinkingblog, wikimedia, The Korky)
We see things slightly differently these days; we no longer look to a pantheon of gods for answers to questions about meteors, we look to the meteors themselves. We know that the minerals and ores found in these celestial rocks are the very same as found throughout Earth. We still don’t know everything yet, but regardless of what our level of knowledge may be now or in the future, we still gaze upwards in pleasant awe every time the night sky streaks with these meteors.
We’ve Also Learned Fear
(images via nasa, Ryan Tidwell)
Unfortunately with knowledge comes awareness, and with too much awareness there is inevitably fear. Human beings may be intelligent and quite advanced, but en masse we are much more similar to our ancestors than we’d like to admit. With the aid of modern media and the uncanny ability to form an entertainment industry under any circumstances, we’ve managed to turn the beauty of meteor showers into omens of impending doom. The likelihood of such an event occurring again is so scant that to spend a minute worrying about it would be wasteful, as that minute could have been spent outside, brushing up on long-exposure photography. We should spend more time watching the skies, as we may not always have the chance to enjoy them as they are today.