Comet Halley viewing tips for 2061
Here are some highlights of the 2061 apparition of Halley's Comet.
Positions are for mid-U.S. at long. 90° W, lat. 40° N, in deep twilight (Sun 15° below horizon).
Comet Halley in Morning Sky, June-July 2061
June 20: Halley, 1 a.u. from Sun, near mag. 4, 7° up in ENE, just above the Pleiades.
July 4: Halley near mag. 3, 17° up in ENE, 6° left of Pleiades.
July 11: Comet Halley, mag. 2, approaching Earth at 3.6 million miles per day.
July 14: Comet Halley in gathering with old crescent Moon and Saturn.
July 16: Comet Halley at mag. 1 and highest in morning, 23° up, 30° N of E.
July 20: Comet still 21° up, within 7° lower right of Capella.
July 24: Comet, now near mag. zero, 15° up in NE, or 30° directly above Sun, gas tail pointing straight up, dust tail curving to right.
July 28: Halley last rises in dark sky, mag. between 0 and -1. Rises in twilight next two mornings. Passes perihelion later on July 28, 0.593 a.u.* (55 million miles) from Sun.
July 29: Comet Halley passes closest to Earth, at a distance of 0.477 a.u.* (44 million miles).
Comet Halley in Evening Sky, July-August 2061
July 24 or 25: Comet Halley begins to be seen in evening twilight very low in NNW. First sets in dark sky on July 27.
July 29: Comet, near mag. –0.3, about 5° up in NW in deep twilight. Earlier on same date, comet passed closest to Earth (distance 0.477 a.u.* or 44 million miles).
July 30: Comet 6° up in NW and 21° directly above Sun. Gas tail vertical and dust tail curving to right.
August 1: Comet near mag. zero, 30° N of W, 8° up, and 25° upper right of Venus.
August 3: Comet 9° up in WNW and 18° upper right of Venus.
August 5: Comet highest, 10° up, 15° N of W, and 13° upper right of Venus.
August 7: Comet some 10° up, 18° N of W, 10° upper right of Venus, and 1.5° below Beta Leonis.
August 11: Comet near mag. 1, nearly due west, 9° up and 7° upper right of Venus.
August 16: Comet Halley, faded to mag. 2, is receding from Earth by 3.5 million miles per day.
August 18: Comet in compact gathering with young crescent Moon and Venus.
August 19: Comet passes 0.054 a.u.* (5 million miles) from Venus overnight.
August 23: Comet near mag. 3, just 3° up, 7 degrees S of W, and about 1° (min. apparent dist.) upper right of Venus.
Aug. 27: Comet crosses ecliptic, descending through Earth's orbital plane, 38° E of Sun.
Aug. 30: Comet, near mag. 4, sets 8° S of W in deep twilight.
*One a.u., or astronomical unit, the mean distance from Sun to Earth, is the standard measuring unit used to express distances between objects within our solar system.
This summary of Halley's 2061 apparition is adapted from THOUGHTS ON COMET HALLEY 2061, presented by Robert C. Victor at the 2007 annual conference of the Great Lakes Planetarium Association.
Dare to dream of Halley's Comet in 2061
Posted: 02/08/2007 06:38:05 AM MST Updated: 02/08/2007 06:38:05 AM MST Author: Barbara Neff
Listening to a favorite song this morning and chatting with my son on the way to his school, I had an epiphany, of sorts. Rob Solomon sang in his beautiful "Say Goodbye":
When we were young, we thought we'd live forever. Nobody could tell us what to do. We lived our lives for the moment. We had it all when we were young. Say good-bye to the days of our youth. Say good-bye to innocence and truth. Say goodbye to everything we thought that we knew. Say goodbye, my brother, say goodbye.
My son, Carson, age 8, announced as
the song played he'll be 63 when he gets to
see Halley's Comet, on the world events
agenda in 2061. He told me he and I could
watch it together.
In a moment an eight-year-old boy's words and those of a middle-aged songwriter; two sets of words of very different flavor, melded to share the closest thing to truth I might ever hope to find.
Just yesterday I had a discussion with Rob Solomon, singer, songwriter and musician, about people who search for meaning in songs, often illogically. I glibly stated I felt lyrics of songs rarely hold deep meaning or power to solve life's mysteries. "They just rhyme," was my dismissive summation.
I should not be so glib. Perhaps songwriters don't always string words together as the result of deep insight or gutfelt emotion. Yet, meaning unique to listeners can sometimes be found in the lyrics of songs, intended by writers or not.
To a child, mortality can be a hazy concept. Children do live in the moment, I think, giving little consideration to how many moments might be left, which lends freeness of spirit and imagination we often associate with childhood. The truth of childhood is endless wonder.
As we age, life takes on a texture of contrast. Simplicity of existence falls away, it seems, and is replaced with the complicated; sometimes the harsh. Call it getting real. Whether deliriously happy or chronically sad, pessimistic or optimistic, trustful or cynical, I think most would agree when we reflect on our childhoods we seemed naive. The truth of adulthood seems to be complexity.
Or, am I misunderstanding?
Should I know better than to dream of standing with my son underneath a night sky in the year 2061 waiting for a comet to pass? My seasoned psyche says I am foolish to imagine such a thing or to take pleasure in the fantasy.
Should I tell my son his fantasy, that his 107-year-old mother will share the excitement of Halley's Comet with him, is foolish, too? If his dream isn't foolish, is mine? Could it be my young son is the one living truth and that truth is all about our dreams? Is what we adults insert in the place of lost innocence and youth a lie?
I don't have the answers to my own questions. But, this morning I've decided to get real less and believe more. I want to recapture childhood wonder and share my son's with him. I eagerly anticipate that comet.
Inspiration. In the words of a song or in the words of a child, I'll take it as it comes.