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A Miracle!

Entry 462, on 2007-01-23 at 14:41:39 (Rating 1, Activities)

Even an old cynic like myself now has to admit miracles do happen! Last night the clouds parted, as if on cue, to reveal impressive views of Comet McNaught. Shortly before it set the clouds re-appeared, but I had got some good views, and reasonable photos by then.

OK, so maybe its a bit of an exaggeration to call this a miracle. I mean its not as if I saw some dude walking on water, etc, but to someone who has been an amateur astronomer for 30 years and often been disappointed by New Zealand's unpredictable weather, this was about as close as I have got.

My dictionary has three definitions for the word: 1. a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency; 2. a highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment that brings very welcome consequences : it was a miracle that more people hadn't been killed or injured; 3. an amazing product or achievement, or an outstanding example of something : a machine which was a miracle of design. So I guess by definition 2 this was sort of a miracle, because I refuse to elevate it to definition 1!

Anyway, the comet now has an impressive tail, which I didn't quite capture photographically as well as some other observers because the sky didn't get quite dark enough. The photo included with this entry shows the comet while the sky was still quite bright. I used this one because it also shows the trail of the International Space Station near upper left, and the crescent Moon near bottom right, so it includes 3 interesting objects in one photo. The weathervane is an interesting element as well!

The weather is looking relatively good again today too. When clear weather becomes the norm it loses its miraculousness (that is a real word, believe it or not) but I will still appreciate the opportunity to have another look at Comet McNaught.

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