I must say that I rarely look up at the skies, but I think I will look up a lot more after tonight. When you think about it, the universe is so vast and we are but a tiny speck of dust in it. Seeing natural phenomenon really puts our size into perspective.
I was talking to my friend John today about McNaught's comet and how I tried to see it yesterday night. I was standing out in the backyard and stomping around because I was cold and also trying to wave off the mosquitoes, I didn't manage to see anything. However, I did notice the beautiful moon and all the twinkling stars in the sky. The formations formed by the stars were very interesting too. We talked about what comets were and how they came about. I was surprised to learn that comets are comprised mainly of ice. Also, the tail behind the comet is ice since the comet is cool for that to happen. Comets get dragged near the Earth from the sun's gravitational pull. However, since comets still have their own momentum, they end up doing an elliptical orbit around the sun and then travelling off again. Hence, you get comets such as Halley's comet that come back near the Earth every 76 years.
Tonight, since McNaught's comet was still around and I had never seen a comet before, I vowed that I must see it before I miss the chance. By pure coincidence, at lunch, my friend Tin asked if I saw the comet yesterday. I said that I couldn't see anything. He said he could see it clearly from his house. Then our friend Tafazal said that he had a telescope. Hence we all arranged to meet at Tin's house to see the comet.
When I got to Tin's place, it was still bright at 9pm so I couldn't see anything. However, once it got dark, we finally saw the comet after the clouds moved away. The comet was spectacular. It was this bright spot in the sky followed by a massive tail. Through binoculars, the image was very clear. When Tafazal set up the telescope, the image was clear but very small. He couldn't find his magnification lenses so the image was not too good.
The skies truly are full of wonder and I must look up more often. I always love watching science fiction shows like Star Trek and how they travel through space. This always leaves me dreaming of what it would be like to be passing exploding stars and ion storms and dust clouds. The space is really where your imagination can run wild since no one knows for sure exactly what is out there. I guess its that mystery that keeps driving man to try and explore more of space. One day we may learn more secrets from space, such as how we came to be on Earth or if there are other life out there in the universe. Till then, I will turn my head up once in a while and gaze out at all the stars gazing back at me.