I had errands to run in town this morning so it was very convenient to drive to the park and walk on the walking trail. They have planted a number of fall foliage maple trees that are starting to turn scarle,t so it is quite lovely. It did my heart good to see two young moms with their children in strollers making the circuit. One of my earliest memories is being taken on a walk around the block with my mother pushing the stroller with my baby brother.
But, that has nothing to do with Mars.
All of our computers are hooked up to uninterrupted power supply (UPS) devices to protect us from damage to computers from "brown-outs" and surges and loss of data from sudden power failures. These have saved our bacon many times.
Periodically there will be voltage irregularities on the lines, usually not enough to flicker the lights or cause things to shut off but enough dips in the voltage that cause the UPS units to click on and off. The last time we had a problem with this, we called the power company and they came out, but couldn't find anything causing it. The crew thought perhaps it was the electrical panel in the house.
It happened again yesterday. There is UPS unit at my computer and another one on the other side of the partition that separates my work space from the bedroom. We watch television off the internet using a computer that is hooked up to our wide-screen TV (not a monster one but a nice sized one).
So off and on nearly the entire day…. click click….. click click… Very annoying.
We finished watching our Monday night program (Yorkshire Vet on Acorn TV), at about 7:45ish, and I thought I would step outside to see if I could see Mars.
So I did. We usually can’t see much going on in the sky at night because there are so many trees around the house, but there was a perfect gap in the trees so I could see Mars from the porch. So I went in and told Richard, “You gotta come out and see Mars.” Normally he won't come out to look at "dos in the sky" but he did this he did come out.
He took a look and said he needed to go back in and get different glasses. I glanced around to see if anything else was visible, and I noted this "flashing." At first I thought it was a UFO (I really did -- I have always wanted to see UFO), and then wondered whether it might be a clump of fireflies in the tree, but then I saw that it was actually coming from the power line on the pole.
Went in and told him he needed to see something. He looked and was very alarmed and immediately called the power company. He told the person he talked to that the connection from the transformer to the power line was arcing. This was about 8:00.
They came with two trucks at about 9:00. One man went up in his amazing bucket and fixed it and both were gone by 9:20.
If I had not gone out to look at Mars, we never would have seen the arcing, because it wasn't visible in the daylight. Who knows what might have happened. The line could have burned through... and in the meantime Richard would have spent a lot of time reconfiguring the electrical panel that wouldn’t have solved the problem.
So we are very happy and sort of amazed at that interesting coincidence and how it all worked out. The power company is great. Can't say enough good things about them.