Last night was so much fun. I sat through a fascinating lecture on Earth craters. So many of them! And when you get a true perspective of additional meteors/asteroids/whathaveyou out there, it's a little unnerving. The lecture was titled "Picnic on a Crater" and showed local (Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin) ancient craters where you could pack a lunch and enjoy the extraterrestrial created landscapes! I had no idea that Serpent Mound in Ohio was created on a crater edge!
The club meetings are from 7:30 to 10 on the first Mondays of the month. The first hour is club business, which also includes a rundown of the month's astronomical events, discussion of recent scientific reports, and updates about gatherings. I thought it would be dull, but this group is so animated and intelligent that I feel smarter just listening to the quips and zings they throw! And the horrid, horrid astronomy and science puns!!! One man asked "How do you date that? And just so it's clear, I don't mean romantically" and a woman shot back "First, you get stoned!" Ok...maybe you had to be there.
After the meeting stuff is done, there's a break for socializing, snacks, and 50/50 raffle (Brian won this month!!). Then the lecture which runs about an hour. There's usually about 40 people at the lectures. After that, a group of about 20 or more goes for a late dinner at The Redcoat Tavern in Royal Oak. Now, I found this restaurant about 30 years ago, and it has the best cheese based oyster soup on the planet. I haven't been there in at least 20 years, and when I had the soup last night, it was exactly the same recipe I originally loved. That's a testament to a good thing!
At dinner, I sat next to a 71 year old awesome dude. He was one of the first computer drafting instructors. He retired from GM 10 years ago and went for his Masters in Astronomy. He's now finishing up a sky chart for computers that catalogs actual astronomer's voices explaining what they are seeing. When he finishes that in the next 18 months, he's going for his PhD. He does 50 pushups a day, bikes 14 miles 3 to 4 days a week, has been married 57 years, and has survived a non-malignant brain tumor.
And he has a laugh, more of a giggle actually, as uninhibited as a 9 year old!
Dinner conversation was about astrophotography, the role amateur astronomers play (did you know that the recent new impact on Jupiter and the new bright spot on Venus were both discovered by amateurs and not scientific astronomers? The pro's don't bother to look at the planets any more!), lambda calculus and matrix math, computer evolution, and wind energy. When conversations flow this easily, it's amazing how much you can soak up and begin to understand. And being able to contribute to them makes my brain so happy. The endorphin rush is better than 45 minutes of hard exercise, or a detailed tattoo!
This is the most natural place I've felt I belong in a very long time.