8/05/2006

By Jupiter

Tonight we went to an early movie in downtown Bethesda. We wanted to see Little Miss Sunshine. SOLD OUT. So we settled for Scoop. It was definitely settling. I over-heard a woman say, "Wow, Woody Allen is back." Yeah, he is - looking very tired and using the old jokes from all his other movies. Remember when a new Woody Allen movie was an "event."

When we came out of the theater the area was Saturday-night-hopping. Music was blaring from a near-by restaurant. The sidewalks were crowded with folks strolling in the balmy evening. The bright moon overhead was just another plus.

We crossed the busy intersection and bumped into a long line. What's this? Thirty or forty people lined up, waiting for a chance to peek into the lens of the biggest telescope I have ever seen. It was set up on the sidewalk outside Barnes and Noble. We stopped. Wouldn't you?

What are you looking at? The man who had just turned away said, " Jupiter and you can see the 4 moons." We looked into the dark sky and all I saw was what looked like a pretty big star. Bright, yes, but nothing unusual.

We fell into the back of the line and waited twenty minutes for our turn.

The telescope was 250 magnification. In the small lenses I saw a very bright moon and off to the side and above it - 4 very small moons. A glimpse of Jupiter on Woodmont Avenue on a Saturday night.

"How often do you do this?" I asked the man, the owner of the telescopes, the amiable guy who kept adjusting the scope for people. " Oh, maybe every six weeks or so."

"Thanks."

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