the day passed quickly while i did some household errands, washing the dishes, looking for some missing paperwork, wrapping presents. i watched the patriots game, saw them pull off a victory against the dolphins (i was surprised, but happy), only to have any hopes of a playoff engagement next week dashed when the jets won against the packers. with new england out of the running, maybe life here in boston will return to normal, as native fans seek alternate sporting routes to drive their sporting obsession, hopefully this being the celtics.
my father came to pick me up for a post christmas dinner in belmont with my aunt lili and uncle matthew. we ate homemade dumplings, and for dessert tang-yuan in a sweet bean soup. afterwards we exchanged presents, my sister and mother going wrapping crazy and even packaging up the presents they bought themselves. i almost fell asleep on the floor along with the two dogs in my sister's care. after my aunts and uncle left, i got all dressed up (5 layers on top, 2 layers on the bottom, and 2 pairs of socks) and crunched my way out to the snow-covered backyard with first the tripod, then the telescope. i can't remember the last time i was out stargazing, i kind of want to say a year. living in cambridge, with my first floor condo, there's no opportunity to do any skywatching from my heavily fenced backyard. once i saw that we'd have a clear night, i knew what i'd be doing after dinner. i first did a quick peek at the two planets (saturn and jupiter) followed by M42 the orion nebula, before plugging in the telescope for guided viewing. i set the GMT offset wrong (is it +5, +4, +6?) and the telescope didn't track properly, slowly drifting objects out of view. too lazy to correct this slight miscalculation, i did my observations regardless. i went back to the planets and tried to grab some photos. naked eye viewing of saturn shows the obvious cassini division, along with a few moons that i couldn't indentify. jupiter was on a weird vertical tilt, its four moons in plain sight. every 6 years jupiter is tilted so that we have a nearly edge on view, which allows us to see its moons eclipsing one another. i didn't see anything like that tonight, although ganymede was in close proximity to europa (at 12:55am however, there would be a 30 minute long partial eclipsing of europa over ganymede, with a 50% reduction in magnitude). after over an hour freezing my toes off, i called it quits and my father helped me move in my equipment. he later gave me a ride back to cambridge. i'd glad i got to log in some stargazing before 2002 was over. i will go to bed tonight dreaming of warm, dry deserts, dark skies as far as the eyes can see, the heaven coated in sparkles.