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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Comet Quest

My hands are frozen, my neck tied up in knots. The thrill of questing for comets through cloud-covered skies on cold winters nights comes with a price. The Pacific Northwest is hardly a stargazers paradise. My attempts to see Comet Lulin this week have consisted of dashing in and out anytime I suspect I see a hole in the clouds. Sometimes there is a perfect, but small opening, like a portal to the stars. Through this fleeting window I can see the heavens from a few seconds up to a minute before my portal collapses. I realize it is very optimistic of me to hope that Comet Lulin will appear right in the frame of one of these tiny windows. So far, it hasn't.

And that is one of the reasons I adore, a group of remote control observatories located in less cloudy parts of the planet. Between dashes outdoors into the frigid starless night, I sit comfortably in my office seeing such amazement's as this.

I snapped this beauty of Comet Lulin with the telescopes easy-to-use camera system.

Comet Lulin is still up there. If our weather forecast for Sunday holds out I may be able to view it through my binoculars. Rather than the green tailed marvel it is in the photo, it will appear as a largish, white fuzzy cotton ball. Though not as spectacular as the Slooh telescope, there is something undeniably satisfying in a first hand encounter with the cosmos. So I will be there, binoculars in hand, looking up and Southeast, following a line from Saturn to Regulus where the Comet will be exiting our lives.

1 comment:

  1. That is a great shot. I like your new blog layout!

    PS- I didn't notice Sean Penn on that list until you pointed it out. Hahaha. Oops.