First Glimpses Last Night

The young miss and I got our first views of the comet. My first in over two decades. We live across the street from a nature preserve, and as you might expect in the Pacific Northwest, we have to contend with tall trees and cloudy skies.

Comet NEOWISE was visible just above the treetops at 10:30 last night. About a half hour earlier, the sky was still somewhat light and I misidentified two cloud trails as the comet. But I doubted–it’s just been so long between comets. When I was a boy I’d always hoped to view one. But the 60s, 70s, and 80s produced just a lot of fizzle.

With our decrepit binoculars, it was an impressive sight.

The image above is from JPL at Caltech. If you can find the “Big Dipper,” you can find the comet. It’s about as bright as those guiding stars, maybe a bit more so. It’s a lot to notice from a body of ice and dust and rock just three miles across.

No worries about a collision though. 64 million miles away by next Thursday and receding into deep space after that. A return is expected sometime around the 87th century, if we’re still counting Christian by then.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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