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