Heavenly Pursuits

Anne with Her Fireman’s Safety Net Rescuing the Baby

It was bound to happen sooner or later. I crashed my drone. We were in Tower Grove Park. I had flown it once before earlier on our walk and when we neared the Compton Heights Bandstand, I decided to fly it once more. Everything was going fine, until I backed into a tree, a drone eating tree at that. The drone had lodged itself in a tree’s branch, some twenty feet up. It was already late and getting dark, when I ventured over to the park’s maintenance yard looking for help. Not finding anyone there, I “borrowed” a long board that I thought might be long enough to reach the drone. It wasn’t even close. Returning the board, I found a handful of rocks, with which I tried unsuccessfully to strike the drone, in the hope of dislodging it. I want a pitcher, not a glass of water. I was actually lucky that I couldn’t hit it, because after repeated attempts, the stones that I had found started to shatter on the concrete below. The drone would have been smashed to bits. We left it, forlornly blinking its red caution light in the night.

Returning home, we slowly hatched a rescue plan. One that would not risk incurring medical bills far in excess of the drone’s $300 replacement cost. Yeah, I looked that up and also found that there were no more available for Christmas. After several iterations we came up with a plan that revolved around Ole Yeller, what we called our go to camping tent for way too many years. It came with super long poles that had to be long enough. We would use one pole to poke the drone and then use the other poles to set the tent up as best we could to act as a safety net for the falling drone. The pole wasn’t quite long enough to reach the drone, but we had also brought along a step ladder and in conjunction with that, with Anne at the ready to catch it, I poked the drone just once and it fell like a rock into the soft embrace of an upside-down Ole Yeller. One prop blade had been damaged, but other than that everything was good. After replacing the damaged blade, I successfully test flew it and we’re good to go again.

The below picture is from last night. Jupiter and Saturn were close enough to fit into one frame. You can see three of the four Galileo moons of Jupiter. Missing is Io, which might have ducked around behind the planet or is just lost in its glare. Saturn too is overexposed, but you can see that it has an oval outline that is due to its rings. Through the spotter scope, with the eye, I could clearly see Saturn’s rings and the spaces in-between them and the planet. I was unable to see the bands of clouds on Jupiter. Tonight, it is cloudy, but the forecast for the next few nights afterwards looks pretty good.

Great Conjunction 12-17-2020

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