Tuesday, January 09, 2007

On Heavenly Bodies 

No, not that kind; I mean REAL heavenly bodies; the bodies that reside in the heavens.

If the skies your way are clear, AND you have an unobstructed view to the horizon, AND you know where to look, this might be what you see - one of the brightest comets of the last century.

Unfortunately I fail to meet two and a half of the above criteria so I’m unlikely to spot it. Do keep a look out though if you think you have a better chance.

Incidentally, continuing the astronomical theme, until I saw this comparative image, I had absolutely no idea that galaxies were so big. Well, yes, I knew they were big; I just assumed they were so far away they would appear as raindrop-sized smudges to anything less than a giant astronomical telescope. Yet if they were bright enough that we could see them with the naked eye, some would appear larger the moon. Amazing that such a basic piece of astronomical information has escaped me for so long.

Imagine being able to have such an intimate view, to be able to wander out at night, gaze up, and experience the cosmos first-hand instead of through published images; how that might affect our perception of our place in the universe. Or maybe we’d just get used to the sight and never give it a second glance – just like all the other wonders of nature we pass every day.

Which wonders would they be then…?

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