A very beautiful but hard to see comet is passing by our planet and our sun. It comes from so far away at the outermost rim of the Solar System that it comes only once every million years. And it is green, the first completely green comet seen by astronomers. Because this comet isn’t huge or tremendously bright like some others, it is not getting much notice in the news. But if you want to see it, the night skies will soon be dark enough to spot it with binoculars.
February 4, 2009: In 1996, a 7-year-old boy in China bent over the eyepiece of a small telescope and saw something that would change his life–a comet of flamboyant beauty, bright and puffy with an active tail. At first he thought he himself had discovered it, but no, he learned, two men named “Hale” and “Bopp” had beat him to it. Mastering his disappointment, young Quanzhi Ye resolved to find his own comet one day.
As we can see below, this is not making big news at all, only a very small handful of stories at the google news web search:
Newsday, NY – Feb 6, 2009
Comet C/2007 N3, aka comet Lulin, is an icy remnant from the primordial solar system that on Feb. 23 will pass within 38 million miles of Earth. …
Newfound Comet Lulin to grace night skies MSNBC
Look for comet Lulin — it won’t be back for a million years Christian Science Monitor
The Green Comet That’s Headed Straight for Earth io9
IBTimes India – Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
all 10 news articles »
Comet Lulin to visit solar system, astronomers to visit telescopes
Big Island Video News, Hawaii – Feb 2, 2009
A new comet may be seen in the night sky later on in the month of February. Astronomers say Comet Lulin, (C/2007 N3) will pass through this part of the …
Two-tailed Lulin comet visible this month Daily Comet
all 3 news articles »
Don’t miss Comet Lulin approaching Earth: It’s green!
iTWire, Australia – Feb 4, 2009
by William Atkins We all can see with our naked eyes the Comet Lulin as is approaches the Earth in February 2009. What makes this comet fascinating is its …
HEAVENLY VISITOR ‘LULIN‘ IN THE MORNING SKY Star of Mysore
Mystification in Space Russia-InfoCenter
all 7 news articles »
Back to the NASA story:
Fast forward to a summer afternoon in July 2007. Ye, now 19 years old and a student of meteorology at China’s Sun Yat-sen University, bent over his desk to stare at a black-and-white star field. The photo was taken nights before by Taiwanese astronomer Chi Sheng Lin on “sky patrol” at the Lulin Observatory. Ye’s finger moved from point to point–and stopped. One of the stars was not a star, it was a comet, and this time Ye saw it first.
Comet Lulin, named after the observatory in Taiwan where the discovery-photo was taken, is now approaching Earth. “It is a green beauty that could become visible to the naked eye any day now,” says Ye.
Amateur astronomer Jack Newton sends this photo from his backyard observatory in Arizona:
Sky Watch has a lot more information:
Comet C/2007 N3, aka comet Lulin, is an icy remnant from the primordial solar system that on Feb. 23 will pass within 38 million miles of Earth.
Just how bright it becomes, however, is anyone’s guess. Comets are notoriously fickle. They can flare up unexpectedly, or fizzle and go totally unnoticed by the average stargazer. As noted comet hunter David Levy likes to say: “Comets are like cats. They both have tails and they both do what they want!”
Right now, comet Lulin is drifting across our midnight sky and you can see it if you know just where to look. Your best bet will be to observe from a dark, un-light-polluted wilderness area. Scan your binoculars in the region of the comet and, when you spot something that appears like a faint, fuzzy star with a stubby tail, you’ve found it! …
Within only days, it will become even brighter and begin to slip into the early evening sky. On the night of Feb. 23, it will pass slightly southwest of Saturn. Now the comet will be moving at about 5 degrees per day – fast enough for stargazers observing through binoculars or small telescopes to actually notice within minutes its drift against more distant stars.
So, it is moving across the Zodiac and has been crossing Libra? This is rather interesting to me, I am a Libra fan, born in the middle of October. I like it when odd celestial events happen. Seeing a green comet cross over Libra certainly is one such odd event. We have astronomers who watch the stars for us for various celestial events including ones that shouldn’t happen. The word, ‘catastrophe’ comes from the words for stars. Because the stars were considered the abode of the gods, any changes there were frightening to the humans on the earth.
Up in New England, for instance, look for Lulin about 3 a.m., clear skies willing. (For a rough cut at what your skies may be like, Canada’s weather service has a nice “seeing forecast” site for North America here.)
The comet should sit about 20 degrees above the horizon in the constellation Libra. By Feb. 23, at the same time each morning, it appears in the southwestern sky about 40 degrees above the horizon near the planet Saturn. By then, according to the folks over at Sky and Telescope magazine, comet Lulin should be at its brightest.
For pros, this has been a tough comet to observe, said Lowell Observatory astronomer David Schleicher during a quick phone chat. It was first detected in July 2007 and through much of the second half of 2008 was too close to the sun — or behind it — to observe.
It popped back into view last month. But it did so when the moon was heading toward full, so the moon’s glare made it tough to observe.
Still, he and other astronomers are giving Lulin a serious once-over now that it’s getting brighter and the moon is on the wane.
Lulin turns out to be a very-long period comet, Dr. Schleicher explains; it orbits the sun roughly once every 1 million years. This puts it among the group of comets that originate in the Oort Cloud, a roughly spherical assembly of billions of icy objects that extends to about 18 trillion miles from the sun.
It has been rather cloudy lately but tonight there will be scuttling snow flurries and tomorrow, partial clouds so maybe I might be able to glimpse this comet. There remains another 2 weeks of this comet where I might have the good luck of a clear, cloudless night. I hope this is so. It should be like seeing an emerald set in the diamond necklace of Zodiacal stars. An unique view.
Alpha Librae (α Lib / α Librae) is the second brightest star in the constellation Libra (despite its Bayer designation as “alpha”). It also has the traditional name Zubenelgenubi. The name, from Arabic الزبن الجنوبي (al-zuban al-janūbiyy), means “southern claw” and was coined before Libra was recognized as distinct from Scorpius.
A lot of constellations were chopped up. This process cut off parts of the ancient star system of beliefs built up by religious astronomers over a 100,000 year span. Buried deep inside of myths of many people who were separated by the melting of the glaciers, in the Americas, in Australia, cut off since 30,000 years ago, yet the belief systems and stories concerning the major constellations, are related to each other and all the most ancient stories of Eurasia and all of Africa.
One book that tries to unravel while connecting up all of these many disparate yet connected tales was written by two astronomers, Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Deschend Their book is a very difficult one to read and totally comprehend because they move swiftly from one thread to another and only over time, can one appreciate the tapestry they weave. They use the Hamlet mythology of northern Europe to figure out all sorts of dark riddles. But don’t go into the even odder mystery as to how Shakespeare wrote his amazing play and how he managed to embed and then subtly bring into life, hoary, ancient star-belief systems.
Gilgamesh has no metaphysical temperament like the Lord Buddha. He sets out on his great voyage to find Utnapishtim the Distant, who dwells at “the mouth of the rivers” and who can possibly tell him how to attain immortality. He arrives at the pass of the mountain of Mashu (“Twins”), “whose peaks reach as high as the banks of heaven—whose breast reaches down to the underworld—the scorpion people keep watch at its gate—those whose radiance is terrifying and whose look is death—whose frightful splendor [n17 The word which Heidel translates as “frightful splendor” and Speiser (ANET) as “halo” is melammu, the Babylonian equivalent of Iranian hvarna, the so-called “glory” for the sake of which the bad uncle Afrasiyab dived in vain, because it belonged to Kai Khusrau] overwhelms mountains—who at the rising and setting of the sun keep watch over the sun.” [n18 That the Mashu mountain(s) does so “every day,” as translated by Heidel, Speiser, and others, is obviously wrong. Even if we stipulate, for the sake of peace, the idea of a terrestrial mountain, the sun is not in the habit of rising on the same spot every day, and it needs no profound astronomical knowledge to become aware of this fact.]The hero is seized “with fear and dismay,” but as he pleads with them, the scorpion-men recognize his partly divine nature. They warn him that he is going to travel through a darkness no one has traveled, but open the gate for him.
“Along the road of the sun [he went?]—dense is the dark[ness and there is no light]” (Tabl. 9, col. 4, 46). The successive stretches of 1, then 2, then 3 and so on to 12 double-hours he travels in darkness. At last it is light, and he finds himself in a garden of precious stones, carnelian and lapis lazuli, where he meets Siduri, the divine barmaid, “who dwells by the edge of the sea.”….
Here is a perfectly divine barmaid by the edge of the sea, called by many names in many languages. Her bar should be as long as the famed one in Shanghai, for she has along her shelves not only wine and beer, but more outlandish and antiquated drinks from many cultures, drinks such as honeymead, soma, sura (a kind of brandy), kawa, pulque, peyote-cocktail, decoctions of ginseng. In short, from everywhere she has the ritual intoxicating beverages which comfort the dreary souls who are denied the drink of immortality. One might call these drinks Lethe, after all . See appendix #29
Earnest translators have seriously concluded that the “sea” at the edge of which the barmaid dwells must be the Mediterranean, but there have also been votes for the Armenian mountains. Yet the hero’s itinerary suggests the celestial landscape instead, and the scorpion-men should be sought around Scorpius. The more so as lambda ypsilon Scorpii are counted among the Babylonian mashu constellations, and these twins, lambda ypsilon, play an important role also in the so-called Babylonian Creation Epic, as weapons of Marduk.
In any case, Siduri, who must be closely related to Aegir and Ran of the Edda with their strange “Bierstube,” –as well as to the nun Gertrude, in whose public house the souls spent the first night after death (see above, p. 208, n. 9)—takes pity on Gilgamesh in his ragged condition, listens to his tale of woe but advises him to return home and make the best of his life.
Even Shamash comes to him and tells him: “The life which thou seekest thou wilt not find.” But Gilgamesh goes on being afraid of eternal sleep: “Let mine eyes see the sun, that I may be sated with light.” [n19 Old Babyl. Version, Tabl. 10, col. 1, 8, 13 (Heidel, p. 69).]. And he insists on being shown the way to Utnapishtim. Siduri warns: “Gilgamesh, there never has been a crossing; and whoever from the days of old has come thus far has not been able to cross the sea, [but] who besides Shamash crosses [it]? Difficult is the place of crossing. . . And deep are the waters of death, which bar its approaches.” And she warns him that, at the waters of death, “there is Urshanabi, the boatman of Utnapishtim. Him let thy face behold.” [n20 Assyrian Version, Tabl. 10, col. 2, 21-28 (Heidel, p. 74). Shanabi meaning 40, Urshanabi means something like “he of 40”; Hommel rendered it “priest of 40.”]
Siduri-Sabitu sits “on the throne of the sea” (kussu tamtim), and W. F. Albright [n21 W. F. Albright, “The Goddess of Life and Wisdom,” AJSL 36 (1919-20), pp. 258-94.], picking up a notion of P. Jensen, thoroughly compares Siduri and Kalypso, whose island Ogygia is called by Homer “the Navel of the Sea” (omphalos thalasses). Moreover, Albright points to “the similar figure of Ishara tamtim,” Ishara of the sea, the latter being the goddess of Scorpius [n22 See appendix #30*. The name of the goddess is pronounced Ish-khara], corresponding to the Egyptian Scorpius-goddess Selket, and to “Mother Scorpion. . . dwelling at the end of the Milky Way, where she receives the souls of the dead; and from her, represented as a mother with many breasts, at which children take suck, come the souls of the newborn.” This last-mentioned “Mother Scorpion” is a legitimate citizen of ancient Nicaragua and Honduras [n23 H. B. Alexander, Latin American Mythology (1920), p. 185], an offshoot of the Mayas’ “Old Goddess with a scorpion’s tail.”
[n24 The many-breasted Mother Scorpion of Central America goes well with the farmer’s calendar of ancient Rome which attributes Scorpius to Diana (see F. Boll, Sphaera , p. 473; W. Gundel, RE s.v. Scorpius, p. 602). It remains still dark, however. what caused Athanasius Kircher to localize the many-breasted Diana of the Ephesians into Aquarius, calling, moreover, this celestial department “Regnum Canubicum.”].
The essence of Hamlet’s Mill is the idea that since the earth shifts on its axis and is tilted on top of that, the view of the heavens shifts over geological time. So things that are one way, when we look at the night skies, a million years ago, look utterly different from the same spot, today. On top of that, humans traveled about the planet, by 35,000 years ago, they reached every single landmass and most of the islands of the earth. During this journey, they were discomfited by the fact that the heavenly skies at night over Australia are quite different from the view in Western Europe, for example.
One of the oldest constellations that was non-Zodiac in nature is Orion. I believe that virtually all cultures recognize this major constellation as a hunter. There is an old stone carving
Many of the ancient observatories have eluded understanding their functions due to the fact our view of the stars that are supposedly ‘fixed’ in the heavens shifts over time, very gradually. Our planet isn’t just cockeyed in relation to the sun which is why we have summers and winters but also wobbles on its axis. This means the star that never shifts which we now call ‘the North Star’ actually does shift over a 26,000 year cycle, various stars take up the role of ‘North Star’ over the eons. And since the last Ice Age began to end with catastrophic floods—please note the word ‘catastrophe’ refers to stars!—Half way through this cycle, a spectacular event happened: the Ice Age began its spectacular meltdown.
The melting of an enormous Antarctic ice sheet 14,000 years ago triggered climatic changes in Europe and North America that ultimately led to the end of the last ice age, according to a new study.
Using super computers to simulate the melting of part of the Antarctic, scientists analyzed what effect the dumping of huge amounts of freshwater into the southern oceans would have on the climate in the rest of the world.
The ecliptic is the apparent path the Sun traces out along the sky — independent of Earth’s rotation — in the course of the year. More accurately, it is the intersection of the celestial sphere with the ecliptic plane, which is the geometric plane containing the mean orbit of the Earth around the Sun. It should be distinguished from the invariable ecliptic plane, which is the vector sum of the angular momenta of all planetary orbital planes, to which Jupiter is the main contributor.
Note at the top of the chart here that the first star of the biggest zodiacal constellation, Virgo, rose on the ecliptic the same time Antarctica dropped a huge ice sheet into the ocean and the glaciers began to melt with terrifying suddeness. By this point in time, humans had spread across the entire planet on every continent including distant ones like Australia. When these floods occured, one should imagine many coastal communities such as the ones between Australia and Indonesia were swiftly indundated and if they didn’t move rapidly, drowned during the sudden appearance of storms we call ‘typhoons’ or ‘hurricanes.’ During the Ice Ages, it rained very little compared to today.
Utnapishtim is spry enough to tell in great detail the story of the Deluge. He tells how Enki-Ea has warned him of Enlil’s decision to wipe out mankind, and instructed him to build the Ark, without telling others of the impending danger. “Thus shalt thou say to them: [I will. . . go] down to the apsu and dwell with Ea, my [lord].” He describes with great care the building and caulking of the ship, six decks, one iku (acre) the floor space, as much for each side, so that it was a perfect cube, exactly as Ea had ordered him to do. This measure “I-iku” is the name of the Pegasus-square, and the name of the temple of Marduk in Babylon, as is known from the New Year’s Ritual at Babylon, where it is said: “Iku-star, Esagil, image of heaven and earth.” [n28 Trans. A. Sachs, ANET, p. 332, ll. 275ff. Concerning the Rectangle of Pegasus, see B. L. van der Waerden, “The Thirty-Six Stars,” JNES 8 (1949), pp. 13-15; C. Bezold, A. Kopff, and F. Boll, Zenit- und Aequatorialgestirne am babylonischen Fixsternhimmel (1913), p.11.]. Shamash had let Utnapishtim know when to enter the ship and close the door. Then the cataracts of heaven open, “Irragal [= Nergal] pulls out the masts [appendix # 32]; Ninurta comes along (and) causes the dikes to give way; The Anunnaki [n29 These divine beings of the “underworld” (their equivalent “above”: the Igigi) were also written A-nun-na-nun-ki (Deimel, PB, pp. 57f.), i.e., they belong to NUNki = Eridu (Canopus), the seat of Enki-Ea.
The Sumerian name Anunna is interpreted as “(Gods who are) the seed of the ‘Prince,'” according to A. Falkenstein (“Die Anunna in der sumerischen Uberlieferung,” in Festschrift Landsberger , pp. 128ff.). See also D. O. Edzard, “Die Mythologie der Sumerer und Akkader,” in Worterbucb der Mythologie, vol. 1, p. 42: “Die ‘fiirstlichen’ Samens [sind],” the “Prince” (NUN) being Enki-Ea of Eridu. Concerning NUN = “Prince,” defined by T. Jacobsen as “one of authority based on respect only, settling disputes without recourse to force,” Falkenstein, politely, mentions: “Ganz abweichend K. Oberhuber: Der numinose Begriff ME im Sumerischen, S.6f.” The title of this opus (Innsbruck 1963, lnnsbrucker Beitrage zur Kulturwissenschaft. Sonderheft 17) expresses sufficiently the hair-raising propositions that it contains, concerning ME, NUN, and other termini.] raised (their) torches, lighting up the land with their brightness; The raging of Adad reached unto heaven (and) turned into darkness all that was light [n30 Speiser, ANET, p. 94, n. 207, remarks: “The term suharratu . . . does not mean ‘rage,’ but ‘stark stillness, bewilderment, consternation,'” and he translates 11.105-06: “Consternation over Adad reaches to the heavens, Who turned to blackness all that had been light.”]. . . (Even) the gods were terror-stricken at the deluge.
Rather than spreading out evenly across all the oceans, water from melted Antarctic ice sheets will gather around North America and the Indian Ocean. That’s bad news for the US East Coast, which could bear the brunt of one of these oceanic bulges.
If you click on the link with my cartoon about Medusa, you can see previous speculation about flooding. This latest story is interesting because yes, the oceans bulge for various reasons. The gravity on earth is not even, for example. On top of this, there is the moon, yanking the oceans about which is why we have tides. As life evolved on earth, the tidal areas separating the ocean from the land would shift every few hours, half of the time, underwater and half, dry and this enabled evolution to work its magic.
THIS REMINDS ME: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DARWIN!
And the melting of the glaciers in Antarctica won’t just flood the earth and in particular, Washington, DC, but will also increase the areas that are under tidal flows. As well as releasing Antarctica from whatever it is sitting on. Since both India and Australia have split from from Antarctica, they both have shot northwards at tremendous speed. Is this because of the ice in Antarctica is compressing the lithosphere so badly, it is ‘squeezing’ things like a toothpaste tube when an elephant stomps on it? Who knows? If the ice melts, we will find out as the whole planet will probably rearrange itself at a rather faster geological speed than we are accustomed to.
This certainly will be change we can believe in even if we won’t like it one tiny bit. We humans prefer to be the ones to rearrange the landscape, not Mother Nature. But Her latest celestial display is a reminder, who is the real boss here. She can, if She wishes, launch any number of Oort belt objects at us. This latest comet is a reminder, these things have a habit of passing through the planetary plane.
This is why we must watch the skies. And why these stories are rather important, I would suggest.
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