Sunday, November 27, 2011

Will Halley's Comet lose its sparkle?
Category: General
Posted on: November 8, 2011 7:52 AM, by SciencePunk
Google is celebrating Edmund Halley's birthday today, so it seemed like a good time to mention something that's been on my mind. It's about life, wonder, and celestial bodies.
Halley's Comet is somewhat unique, being the only short period comet visible to the naked eye. "Short period" here is something of an astronomy-centric phrase, given that it only appears every 75 years. I think a big part of the magic of Halley's Comet lies in the breadth of that period. It's just about the length of a human life, which means if you remember seeing the comet, you're unlikely to live long enough to see it again; though your children most certainly will. We divide much of our time up according to celestial events - the solar day, the lunar month - and Halley's Comet feels as if it fits into that, a pendulum marking out a human lifespan with each swing.
The question is, will our increasing lifespans erode that magic?



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