Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Comet visits Robertson - at last.

Robertson is a misty, cloudy place, so while Comet McNaught may have visited the rest of Australia from 15 January onwards, it took until Friday night before the comet was visible in Robertson.

Image "user contributed" - on the ABC website.

On Friday night (Australia Day) night, I had been to an Aussie Day BBQ with the "Moresby Hill Mob". I came home about 9:45, and there was the comet, just over my house. I was surprised to see it, as I had heard that it was only visible just after sunset. But there it was. The sky was dark, and it was very clearly visible with the naked eye. Its tail spanned the width of my hand, when my arm was extended. Pretty impressive. Much better than the damp squib that was "Halley's Comet" when it came past last.

Tonight I had dinner with Steve and Celeste, and we planned to try and see the comet again. We observed where the sun set, and then, allowing the sky to darken, went back out to look for the comet. Steve spotted it quickly, just above tree-top height, about 30 minutes after sunset. The sky was not totally dark, as the moon was brighter than several days before. None-the-less, the comet was clearly visible.

We went back inside, and reminded Jasper how in earlier cultures, such an apparition was taken as a harbinger of great events. Such an event (though apparently a conjunction of planets, rather than a comet) is of course, described in the story of the birth of Jesus. The point about this is that Jasper is named after one of the "Magi", or the "Three Kings", or the "Three Wise Men from the East" who followed the "Star" to find where the baby Jesus was born.
Wikipedia reports that "Caspar is also sometimes given as Gaspar, a variant of the Persian Jasper — "Master of the Treasure" — from which the name of the mineral jasper is derived."

I liked the serendipity of seeing a comet, with Jasper.

1 comment:

Anni said...

Ah - now I understand why someone was putting together a big telescope down our lane before sunset yesterday!