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View Diary: First of two comets this year to make Northern hemisphere appearance tonight (31 comments)

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  •  Remember Hale-Bopp (5+ / 0-)

    and Hyakutake?  Those were two that came in fast and furious within months of each other.

    I thoroughly expect that if PAN-STAARS puts on a good show the lunatic fringe will be linking it to Obama.  

    If ISON is as spectacular as it may be (still iffy), we'll probably see some end of the year doomsday prophecies given the timing.  And they'll blame it on Obama.

    (-6.25, -6.77) Moderate left, moderate libertarian

    by Lonely Liberal in PA on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 01:03:33 PM PST

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    •  I remember that one. (11+ / 0-)

      I rejected a shidduch date that year because of how dismissive he was of the people who'd set up telescopes in Central Park to look at the comet.

      He was otherwise a thoroughly sweet guy and I do hope he found someone nice, but once he said "I can't understand why anyone would be interested in that kind of thing" I knew it wasn't going to work out.

      •  Because it's unique? (8+ / 0-)

        You get to see an object that won't return to the inner solar system in your lifetime.  Or quite possibly the lifetime of the human species.  And it's never been here before...or if it was, it was to view a vastly different planet.

        Yeah, I would have ditched him as well.  My partner is excited to see PAN-STAARS even though I've said it's not particularly impressive.

        I dragged my then-boyfriend, my mom, and anybody else who wanted to go out to our local high school's green to view Hale-Bopp with my telescope, my binoculars, and naked eye.  By ten minutes in, I had a crowd of people wanting to use my telescope.  :-)  We were there until the comet set.

        (-6.25, -6.77) Moderate left, moderate libertarian

        by Lonely Liberal in PA on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 01:36:55 PM PST

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        •  Because it's unique! (4+ / 0-)

          Because it's shiny and has a tail!  Because it has traveled so unimaginably far to be here!  Because you are supposed to be a religious man and GOD MADE THAT, YOU CRETIN.

          ... is what I should have said to him, although possibly minus the you cretin part.

          Seriously, from a religious point of view I can't understand not having an appreciation for the wonders of the universe.  There is a specific blessing one is supposed to say on seeing unusual or awe-inspiring natural phenomena, including comets; for that reason alone I felt he ought to have been interested, even if astronomy as a science holds no particular attraction for him.

          Maybe I should try organizing a comet-viewing (and blessing?) event at my synagogue.  I feel sure my rabbi would approve.

          •  Go for it! Bless the Comet! (6+ / 0-)

            I tend toward apathetic agnosticism myself, but appreciate a comet for the scientific information it may hold.  And the fact that they probably delivered most of Earth's water early on when the sky swarmed with them (what a sight that would have been if you could see through the steam and survive the molten rock and constant impacts...)

            Plus it's shiny and white (usually, not always) and pretty and something that changes visibly over the course of a day in a sky that's extremely repetitive for the most part.

            I can appreciate its beauty and can spend a moment thinking about the vastness of space and the ultimately tiny nature of our little planet.  That small hunk of rock and ice came from the furthest reaches of the Solar System, spending hundreds of thousands to millions of years getting here to put on a show for me, now, in 2013.

            (-6.25, -6.77) Moderate left, moderate libertarian

            by Lonely Liberal in PA on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 02:21:27 PM PST

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    •  Hale-Bopp? Yea I remember... (3+ / 0-)

      I think the Teabaggers are waiting for a ride on one of these comets...

      "Do you realize the responsibility I carry?
      I'm the only person standing between Richard Nixon and the White House."
      ~John F. Kennedy~

      -7.5,-5.8

      by Oldestsonofasailor on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 01:39:18 PM PST

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