Comet Pan-STARRS

We have been scanning the skies for comet Pan-STARRS over the last few evenings. It’s supposed to be particularly close to the sun just now, so very visible. Not if you live in Scotland however! Low lying snow clouds have obliterated the horizon every evening. However, it has served as a reminder of a magical experience from school.

Somehow I managed to get in to top set in Science after my SATS in secondary school. That just goes to show how useless SATS are! I spent the whole time completely confused. Anyway, we got to go on a trip to an observatory and it was totally wonderful. We crept out to the mini bus on a clear bright night. There’s a certain kind of feeling to those sort of nights. I can never explain it. They are dark and bright all at the same time. They smell damp but feel cold and dry all together. There’s the sharpness of the air in your nose as you breathe in and out. Then there’s the marvellous excitment of being up when you’re usually in bed; especially in a rural area where the darkness of the undergrowth must be the deepest darkness you can find, filled with ancient fireside tales of fairies and sprites.

We all got to look through the telescope then they projected the night sky onto the inside of the observatory roof and we talked of the moving stars and planets. It’s a precious memory that will stay with me forever, a moment when the wonder and magic of the universe was laid before me and I fell in love.

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