Sto­ries and strange tales from the world of am­a­teur as­tron­omy by Jonathan Pow­ell

Sky at Night Magazine - - INTERACTIVE -

Few things are more ex­cit­ing than a comet’s ar­rival, but there’s some­thing about Hal­ley’s. The 1986 re­turn was greatly an­tic­i­pated and one evening at a gath­er­ing of ama­teurs I failed to jump upon an op­por­tu­nity. I bumped into a gen­tle­man who in­formed me he had seen Hal­ley’s comet in 1910, but I didn’t stop to talk to him! There in the flesh was some­one who had seen the comet twice, but I failed to find out where he was when he saw it and his age. This lapse taught me a se­ri­ous les­son. Our com­mu­nity can ap­pear quite sep­a­rated from other walks of life, and it is up to us to make sure it is kept alive not just by en­cour­ag­ing be­gin­ners, but by lis­ten­ing to more ex­pe­ri­enced ama­teurs. In other words, don’t wait un­til 2061 when Hal­ley next re­turns to en­gage with those around you!

Jonathan Pow­ell is the as­tron­omy cor­re­spon­dent for the South Wales Ar­gus

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