Adventures of a Modern Day, Middle-Aged Hero, on the Glory Road(to family security)


What a let down.

While I don't have any of the toys to support a hard-core stargazing habit, I am bit of an astronomy buff.  When meteor showers are expected, I will fill a thermos with coffee(or hot cocoa/peppermint schnapps) I will drive half-an-hour out into the desert to find some optimal night sky conditions.

Since mid-December, I have been looking forward to an opportunity to step outside and take a look at Comet Lovejoy C/2014 Q2.  Technically, based off absolute magnitude, it should have been visible to the naked eye since about December 20th...but the moon did not cooperate, rising early and swelling to full through early January, flooding most of the night sky with poisonous light.

Now, for the last week, we have been continuously overcast, quite unusual for Eastern Washington...until today.  Today, we had beautiful blue skies(51 degrees)....and the clear skies carried over into the evening, letting me head out with my binoculars, and spotting scope(no real telescope for me!).

After weeks of looking at pictures, tonight was very anticlimactic. 

Very tough to measure up to photo from www.skyandtelescope.com
That is NOT what I saw tonight. What I saw was much more of greenish 'blur' in the sky.  I imagined I could see it with my naked eyes...but I could certainly see it with my binoculars.  As I described it to my wife, it looked kind of like a fuzzy green pac-man ghost, laying on its side.  My description failed to motivate my wife to go stand in the cold, crisp evening air. 

I might need to put a telescope on my gift list for this year...


  1. A good spotting scope on a decent tripod works really well for looking at the night sky.
    It is not a real astronomical scope, but good enough for most objects that you want to see.
    Then when hunting season rolls around it should come in handy again.

  2. You leave me feeling better about our failed attempts to spot it! -- Erik from Seattle

  3. My spotting scope is what I ended up using...but by now the comet is fairly close to vertical, which is not what the tripod is meant for.