If you looked up in the sky lately and can see past the downtown light pollution, you might have noticed a big fuzzy dot near the constellation Orion. That would be Comet Lovejoy, a comet discovered last fall by Terry Lovejoy. Find a comet and you get it named after you. It’s the fifth comet that Lovejoy’s discovered.
Comet Lovejoy came the closest to earth on Jan. 7, about 40 million miles. In theory, someone with really sharp eyes or good glasses gazing up in clear, dark skies might see Lovejoy. The Betster has been looking at it with binoculars. Spectacular photographs on Sky and Telescope’s website show a really cool wispy blue tail, but all the Betster can see is that dot.
Still — Holy Cosmos! A dedicated sky gazer might see a naked-eye comet every few years or so. We’re not talking Hale-Bopp though, which had to be the neatest comet in recent memory. If you blink and miss Lovejoy, don’t worry. It will be back in 11,000 years.
All of which to say is that not only do we live on a pretty special planet, we live in an amazing and cool solar system. Comets, planets, asteroids, meteors, moons and that big star we call the sun — there’s plenty of wonder to go around in our own back yard. Go a little farther and, well, the universe is pretty nifty. If you’re poking around Orion looking for Lovejoy, you might notice that the three stars in Orion’s belt are surrounded by swirling clouds of gas, or nebulae. We’re not just looking at stars, but the birthplace of stars.
Well, down to earth here, it’s just totes amaze in our own cosmic hamlet, with lots and lots of fun stuff to do, like these Best Bets:
BEST RADIO RADIO BET: With the cancelation of Concert on the Lawn, our local public radio station is going through some changes. Meet the board and staff and grab some grub for the KBBI Annual Meeting today at the Homer Elks Lodge. A potluck dinner starts at 5 p.m. with the meeting starting at 6 p.m.
BEST DESIGNING WOMAN BET: OK, the Betster has never heard of 19th century architect Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter, but that’s one of the strengths of Elizabeth Ware and David Edgecome of Edgeware Productions — they pick an obscure historical personality and make the person come alive. Ware acts in and Edgecome directs “A Woman By Design,” showing at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Bunnell Street Arts Center.
BEST YOU HAD TO BE THERE BET: If you weren’t alive in the 1960s, you’re probably bored by the Baby Boomers raving about how awesome it was. Right — like acid rock can even compare with disco. Every decade has its moments, but the events of the 1960s did leave a mark on history. Celebrate the good, the bad and the ugly, including some awesome music, of the decade with “The ’60s Show,” showing at 7 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Mariner Theatre. See story, page 8.