Comet tales

This morning I am celebrating with an onion bagel and avocado, with really strong coffee in my Unreconstructed Ossified Manualist mug.

Thanks to my local Ham Radio “Elmer”, last night I was finally able to get a great glimpse of the comet NEOWISE.  Not just a good glimpse, with binoculars, but also through a good refractor telescope.   We also pointed the same at a few other objects including rising Jupiter (lots of little moons) and Saturn (tilted right now, so you can see the rings plainly).   As I was looking at one star cluster, a satellite whizzed through.  We had several splendid meteors, fireflies, and a fly over by the ISS.

I encourage you to get out and see the comet.  It is the brightest we’ve had in about 20 years and it won’t be back for about 6800 years.  You won’t have to coma the sky.  On my latitude it was best visible about an hour after sunset, in the NW between Lynx and Ursa Major.   It will brighten so you can see it with the naked eye, but good binoculars will really please.

How I wish I still had my apartment in Rome.  The view would have been sort of like this.

Here’s an old photo from those days…

Rainbow and dark sky in Roma

I shot that early in the morning from my window, as the sun was rising behind me, on the Feast of the Cathedra of St. Peter, 2006.

Alme Sol, curru nitido diem qui
promis et celas aliusque et idem
nasceris, possis nihil urbe Roma
visere maius.

And without Horace’s permission, I think Puccini’s rendering…

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. MyronM says:

    God constantly speaks to His children also through signs in the starry sky. Every phenomenon in the sky has its own spiritual significance, this applies even to the weakest comets. [Psalm 18 (19) ‘Coeli enarrant’]
    Imagine that through the same point in the constellation od the Desired by All Nations (= Coma, above Virgo) two comets will pass 10 days apart: C / 2019 U6 (LEMMON) on July 29, 2020 that is on Saint Martha’s day, while C / 2020 F3 (NEOWISE) on August 8, that is, on the day of Saints Dominic and Myron The Taumaturg.
    Their trajectories cross, but if there will be a luminous cross there, I don’t know.
    The meeting place (constellation Coma) is important, because Paraclete is the Desired. NEOWISE (= the New Wise) will come into Perihelium on July 3, the day of Saint Thomas the Apostle, or the Twin (Didymos).

    LEMMON (= The Friend) will be in perihelium on June 18/19, that is on the day of Saints Gervase and Protase, saint Twins, because Paraclete is the spiritual twin of our Lord Jesus. Of this pair of Protase (= The First) is Jesus Christ, and Gervase (= The Spearman) is the anointed Paraclete.
    All nations of the world are waiting for Paraclete – this will be the third (middle) coming of Christ according to the teaching of Saint Bernard of Clairvoux.
    There are more details to discuss here (date and place of discovery, date perigeum, trajectory in connection with the saints of the day, etc. etc), but now remember the key information: NEOWISE – comet of Saint Thomas, the Twin, Paraclete; LEMMON – comet of the Twins, God’s Sons.

  2. Semper Gumby says:

    Thanks for the photos and Puccini, Fr. Z.

    An interesting article about the comet:

    “It becomes visible to our eyes only once every 6,800 years. The last humans to see the comet lived 2,800 years before Abraham left Ur of the Chaldees.”

    (4800 BC in Mesopotamia is characterized by the “city” of Eridu, located a few miles from Ur, and the expansion of irrigation.)

  3. KateD says:

    We’ve seen Neowise a few times recently….and thought it very cool.

    But I wonder…there were comets and signs in the skies for various important events throughout history. With the spirit of lawlessness and anarchy we are experiencing and the pandemic…what might Neowise portend?

  4. grateful says:

    How could one not give one’s best performance with that conductor.

  5. Simon_GNR says:

    I haven’t seen the comet, but I had the interesting experience of seeing the International Space Station pass over a couple of nights ago. Viewing conditions were perfect at 10.27 pm (GMT+1) here in the north-east Midlands of England. The ISS took several minutes to cross the sky silently. If one didn’t know what it was it would seem very mysterious.

  6. Semper Gumby says:

    A poem by Edward Hirsch: “In spite of Everything, the Stars”

    Like a stunned piano, like a bucket
    of fresh milk flung into the air
    or a dozen fists of confetti
    thrown hard at a bride
    stepping down from the altar,
    the stars surprise the sky.
    Think of dazed stones
    floating overhead, or an ocean
    of starfish hung up to dry. Yes,
    like a conductor’s expectant arm
    about to lift toward the chorus,
    or a juggler’s plates defying gravity,
    or a hundred fastballs fired at once
    and freezing in midair, the stars
    startle the sky over the city.

    And that’s why drunks leaning up
    against abandoned buildings, women
    hurrying home on deserted side streets,
    policemen turning blind corners, and
    even thieves stepping from alleys
    all stare up at once. Why else do
    sleepwalkers move toward the windows,
    or old men drag flimsy lawn chairs
    onto fire escapes, or hardened criminals
    press sad foreheads to steel bars?
    Because the night is alive with lamps!
    That’s why in dark houses all over the city
    dreams stir in the pillows, a million
    plumes of breath rise into the sky.

    Amos 5:8 He who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning, and darkens the day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea, and pours them out upon the surface of the earth, the Lord is his name.

  7. Semper Gumby says:

    The ancient Babylonian Star Catalogs refer to Orion as the “Heavenly Shepherd.”

    Moving to the Southern Hemisphere, there is a constellation known as the Crux or Southern Cross. Here’s a recent painting:

    The Crosby, Stills, and Nash song “Southern Cross” was written by Stephen Stills in the aftermath of his divorce from Veronique Sanson. He sailed the South Pacific in an effort to understand what went wrong. With lyrics:

    Numerous interesting comments on this video, one comment with almost 200 replies: “I’d start every flight mission I had in Iraq with this song. It was calming flying over those lands.”

    Another comment: “…standing midnight watch on the USS America…God handed me a moment…”

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