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I have settled into a lawn chair with a pair of 8 � 40 binoculars up on the inn's viewing platform near our cabin. I'm watching the constellation Draco—the Dragon—burning through the twilight. A little silver ball zooms right through it.
"Holy smokes!" I shout, "I've got a satellite." In 90 minutes, with just my trusty binoculars, I nail 11 satellites and nine meteors. But just as I am working my way into an astronomical frenzy, disaster strikes: clouds. Clouds come from the left and clouds come from the right. We try to look between them, but soon they knit together into an impenetrable black blanket. A little after midnight, we go to bed.
"Set the alarm for 3:50 a.m.," my husband says. "If the clouds move, we'll see the comet rise."
After a very short night we are back on duty on the viewing platform. "I can't see a damn thing," Don says. Half an hour passes. We eat doughnuts. The sky is clear as a bell. Except for one cloud.
"See that little cloud?" Don says. "That's exactly where Comet Austin is. Right behind that one lousy cloud." We wait. It's cold.
"The sun's going to come up pretty soon," my husband says with an urgency you might expect from Dracula uttering the same words. And then, just ever so slightly, the cloud moves.
We stand there side by side, sweeping the horizon with our binoculars.
"I've got it!" I shout. "Above the second ponderosa from the left."
"That's the Andromeda galaxy," Don says. The cloud moves a little more.
"Comet!" my husband says. "Third ponderosa. Look at the tail—pointing straight up." One doughnut later, dawn arrives, and Austin is gone.