Since we’re locked in the little prison of our heads, and since we’re used to egocentric turns of phrase like the sun went down or the moon rose, I suppose I should forgive the stupid thought I had this morning, which was “I wonder how the constellation Leo knows to shoot out its stars at this time every year?”
I knew it made no sense even as I was thinking about it; that it must have something to do with orbits, like the moon and the earth and those rocks on the beach our kayaking guide used to explain why the moon is full at the same time for everyone (everyone on Earth, that is).
Turns out it has everything to do with orbits. There’s a comet, called Tempel-Tuttle, for the two people who independently discovered it in 1865 (it’s so strange, the way this happens, that two people in different countries discover the same thing in the same year), that orbits the sun every 33 years. In its orbit is a cloud of debris, which the sun burns up. When Earth crosses this orbit, every November 17th or 18th, we see the little burning pieces.
But you have to manage to get up in the middle of the night to see them – in other words, you have to wake up to the little prison of your head, out of the alternate prison of dreams