Thursday, March 7, 2013

Comets and Coincidences

Comet Pan-STARRS on March 2, 2013.
Taken by astro-photographer
Luis Argerich of Buenos Aires, Argentina,
who says "Easy to see with the naked eye
from a rural location."
It seems 2013 promises to be “the Year of Comets,” close calls, and coincidences.  On February 11, the pope renounced his office. At 6 p.m. that very day, lightning struck the clock-tower (sorry, I meant the dome of St. Peter’s). Four days later (the first Friday of Lent, commemorating the Crown of Thorns), at 7:25 a.m. (Moscow time), Russia was sonically boomed by a meteor (some say a comet) that injured at least 1,200 people (including children). The timing of these incidences certainly gives one reason to pause. A pope resigns and a few days afterward, Russia gets zapped by a meteor. You know…Fatima, pope, Russia. That’s a wee coincidence.

As it turns out, there was a rather large (and close) “space rock” flying around out there in the heavenly skies. (No, it was not I who coined the term “space rock.”) “After skimming closer to the earth than any other asteroid of its size, space rock 2012 DA14 missed us by about 17,100 miles …In a rather uncomfortable coincidence, a measure of the type of damage that can result from such rocks from space was demonstrated earlier on Friday [February 15, 2013] when a meteor streaked across the sky and exploded over central Russia, raining fireballs over a vast area and causing a shockwave that smashed windows, damaged buildings and injured 1,200 people.”  (The Guardian, UK )

Then an earthquake struck Rome, just three days after the former pope’s official February 28 resignation. Benedict XVI (Pope Emeritus) was at Castel Gandolfo (the traditional summer residence of the popes) when the mild earthquake momentarily shook things up. Agence France-Presse reported the earthquake had a local magnitude of 2.5 and was felt in Rome, Ciapino, Marino and Castel Gandolfo. The Italian Department of Civil Protection receives no reports of death, injury, or serious damage. Italia Domani asked whether the earthquake wasn't a sign for the cardinals who will soon be choosing a new pope.

Aw, c’mon…these are just coincidences – right? Right?

Coincidences? I don’t believe in them. I do believe and profess in Tradition and Scripture (otherwise known as “Divine Revelation” or “the Deposit of Faith.”), which are matters of faith. With a very ardent human faith, I believe in Fatima, Lourdes, LaSalette, Rue-de-bac, the Sacred Heart apparitions, Guadalupe, and other Church-approved apparitions and locutions. Finally, I keep an eye (and an open but objective mind) on “private revelations” made by saints and beati or highly respected (and deceased) persons of the Catholic Faith.

With that said, the following is a bit o’ coincidental information on the comets of 2013 that I literally grabbed (ok, copied and pasted), edited a bit, and put into what I believe is a more logical order.

“This year could be the ‘year of the comets,’ according to some astronomers keeping an eye on icy balls of gas and dust roaming through the solar system. Two comets will brighten the Northern Hemisphere in a potentially history-making fashion, with the first one coming into view this week.” [Space] I should also make a quick mention of Comet Lemon, which was seen in the southern hemisphere.

GET THIS: A newly discovered asteroid the size of a football field will cruise through Earth's neighborhood this weekend, just days after another space rock made an even closer approach to our planet. There is no danger that 2013 ET will hit Earth, researchers say, just as 2013 EC posed no threat. But their flybys are slightly unsettling nonetheless, since both asteroids were discovered a mere few days ago.”


FIRST COMET for the Northern Skies: “The first comet set to give northerners a show is Comet Pan-STARRS. Discovered in June 2011, it will first pass into view in the Northern Hemisphere early this month, after streaking through the southern skies earlier in the year, according to David Eicher, Editor-in-chief of Astronomy Magazine.

SEE IT NOW: “The comet makes its Northern Hemisphere appearance today (March 7) and will be at its brightest, and closest to the sun, on Sunday (March 10). Previously, it was only visible from the Southern Hemisphere, where it wowed stargazers and was even visible at the same time as another southern comet, Comet Lemmon. [How to see the comet]”

“PANSTARRS will appear above the western horizon after sunset for Northern Hemisphere viewers. To see it, you will need an unobstructed, cloudless view of the west after sunset. It is best to pick a dark spot, away from streetlights. Look in the sunset direction, as soon as the sky darkens. The comet will be just above the horizon.”

In simpler terms: “Go out and, in the evening sky, especially the first week of March, look to the west,” Eicher said of Pan-STARRS. “It will be one of the brightest things in the sky. It will pop out. It will look like a blob, a fuzzy star, and you should be able to see a tail sticking upward from horizon.” According to Eicher, the comet's tail will be visible in a dark, evening sky, and it should match the brightness of Polaris, the North Star.
THIS Sunday, March 10, 2013. “The comet passes closest to the sun – as close as our sun’s innermost planet, Mercury – at 0.30 AU – or about 28 million miles (45 million kilometers). Comets are typically brightest and most active around the time they are closest to the sun when solar heating vaporizes ice and dust from the comet’s outer crust. Not only will the comet quickly brighten, but it should also develop the long classic comet dust tail.” [EarthSky]

NOVEMBER COMET: Its name is Comet ISON, and it sounds like “the Big Kahuna.” As Eicher said, "In late November, ISON should be in the morning sky. It should be as bright or brighter than Venus. It could be the brightest comet that anyone alive has ever seen."

Cool beans. (I think.) Comet ISON could become visible – even in broad daylight. Discovered in 2012, astronomers note it is spewing gas and dust in great amounts. On November 28, 2013, ISON will fly through the sun’s atmosphere. If it survives, it could glow as bright as the moon – again, even in broad daylight.

Now here comes an amazing coincidence. But first, may I suggest viewing the video link below? Afterward, kindly scroll down and see a bit more about this comet and a pretty amazing “coincidence.” On the other hand, perhaps you should scroll now and see what I have to say about Comet ISON and the connecting coincidence, and then see the video. “Your choice,” she said with a smile. )

A video on Comet ISON (This link will open a new window)

Moving on to the “coincidental coincidence,” remember the Nostradamus prophecy about the cloud and the two stars and the howling Mastiff and the Pope going into exile? If not, here it is again:

 “The great star will burn for seven days,
The cloud will cause two suns to appear.
The Mastiff will be howling all night
When the Great Pontiff will change country.”
Ready for the "big coincidence"?

THE COMETS FROM THE CLOUD: “Both PanSTARRS and ISON are thought to come from the Oort Cloud, a mass of icy bodies orbiting the sun from up to 93 trillion miles (150 trillion km) away. Occasionally, a comet gets expelled from the cloud and finds a new orbit that brings it closer to the inner solar system.”

Known as sungrazers, “these comets come so close to the sun that some of them shatter or even collide with the star. But if they survive, Eicher said, they could become some of the brightest objects in the sky. The gas trails from these comets are even more dazzling than usual because the ice in the nucleus of the comets is melting for the first time.”

“Astronomers are particularly excited about ISON because its orbit should bring the comet close enough to the sun and the Earth to make it one of the brightest objects in the sky come November. However, it is possible that the comet could break apart if it flies too close to the sun.”
While both comets may come from the Oort Cloud, it is Comet ISON that may shine so brightly during the day that it, together with the sun, could appear as "two suns in the sky." In fact, it may shine that brightly for a week! If that turns out to be the case, Comet ISON may portend world events in which the "Mastiff" (interpreted as a "Middle East" power) will be howling all night" and "the Pontiff" will flee to another country, resulting in his exile.

“Will it sizzle – or fizzle?” as the NASA narrator asked (in the video above).  Ah, that is the question. “There's no way to predict it," Eicher said of ISON. "The major factors are all favoring that it will be really bright.” Or as comet specialist David Levy says, "Comets are like cats; they have tails, and they do precisely what they want."

Hmmm. What a coincidence!

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