Harbinger of Doom Appears in Morning Skies!

As any aficionado of the apocalypse knows, you can’t have a serious plague without a comet.  And the year 2020 does not disappoint – Comet NEOWISE (named after the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer mission extension; comets are generally named after their discoverers, in this case the satellite mission team) has brightened a lot over the last week or so and, with a dark sky, has a spectacular tail.  Visible in the northeast sky just before dawn, it is best seen in binoculars.  If you can’t get up that early, it will become visible in the evening sky over the next week.  In cities with the lights it can be a challenge to see, but worth the effort.  Here this messenger of mayhem can be seen lurking over Daffin Park in Savannah Georgia about 5:30am Saturday morning … click to muchly embiggen: Again, you really need a dark sky to see it well. The camera picked it up well before I did, and here in the southeast, the early morning haze and humidity (and gnats) made it harder to find but once you do, it’s a neat sight.  Comets are fascinating remnants of the formation of our solar system.  Once seen as harbingers of doom, in the 1600’s records of their motion, especially those compiled by Sir Edmond Halley of Halley’s comet fame, helped Sir Issac Newton formulate and refine the laws of motion and gravity.  Modern physics has made huge strides in understanding our universe with amazing precision.  As you look at this vaporizing ball of ice and dust think about how far we have come (and what an embarrassment our societies are in failing to appreciate the role solid, unbiased science can have in formulating good policy)

 

One thought on “Harbinger of Doom Appears in Morning Skies!

  1. I loaned my 8″ out to a young man who is best friends with my son. I guess I’ll have to get out with the DSLR and tripod and attempt to image this comet. Since my illness, my life priorities have radically changed.

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