comets and tails

Almost Three Tails for Comet Encke 

How can a comet have three tails? Normally, a comet has two tails: an ion tail of charged particles emitted by the comet and pushed out by the wind from the Sun, and a dust tail of small debris that orbits behind the comet but is also pushed out, to some degree, by the solar wind. Frequently a comet will appear to have only one tail because the other tail is not easily visible from the Earth.

In the featured unusual image, Comet 2P/Encke appears to have three tails because the ion tail split just near to the time when the image was taken. The complex solar wind is occasionally turbulent and sometimes creates unusual structure in an ion tail. On rare occasions even ion-tail disconnection events have been recorded. An image of the Comet Encke taken two days later gives a perhaps less perplexing perspective.

Credit: Fritz Helmut Hemmerich

Wait, a comet has tails?! Yes!! Normally, a comet will have two tails: an ion tail of charged particles emitted by the comet that are pushed out by the solar wind coming from the Sun, and a dust tail of small debris that orbits behind the comet but is also pushed out, to some degree, by the solar wind. 

Frequently a comet may sometimes appear to have only one tail because the other tail is not easily visible from the Earth. 

In the featured unusual image,Comet 2P/Encke appears to have three tails because the ion tail split into 2 close to the time when the image was taken. The complex solar wind is occasionally turbulent and sometimes creates unusual structure in an ion tail. 

Questions? Ask ask ask!! 

Image Credit & Copyright: Fritz Helmut Hemmerich

Punk (Chap. 11)

Originally posted by coporolight

Summary: You’re head over heels for your best friend Bucky and hate the nickname he gave you as it doesn’t exactly scream romance.

Word count: ~2500

Warnings: Language, mission/war related violence and gore, shooting, battle related injuries/casualties/mayhem

A/N:  My sincere apologies for how long this has taken.  I’ve been dealing with some personal things and, quite frankly, it took away all desire to write.  I hope you like this chapter, the photo with the shield later on in the story is actually the inspiration for the entire series.  So you can get inspiration from anywhere :)  I want to thank everyone who stuck around waiting and who has been so helpful and kind to me.  Also, I’m very excited to continue writing more chapters!  Thank you for your continued patience.

As always, feedback is always appreciated.  Please let me know how the ‘action’ plays out as I am always looking for ways to improve my storytelling.  Thanks!



Your face fell in horror, but you seemed to be the only one moving, the rest of the world seemed to be stuck in some sort of time lapse.  Bucky was still just crouching there, holding the boy, with that stupid, beautiful smile still plastered to his face, not yet seeing the danger, not yet registering your alarm.

No no no no no no NO!  Your mind was screaming the words as you tore your gaze away from the scene.  The man was getting closer.  NO!

You bolted forward, shoving the woman into the alley screaming for Bucky to run, ripping your vocal chords in the process. Your legs felt like they were trudging through molasses, like some force was pulling you back, weighing you down. And each step on the pavement felt like an elephant stomp making the ground shake.  But it was as if you weren’t moving any closer.  But you had to.  You had to.   Because what was about to happen could. not. happen.

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Interstellar

Summary: Dan had always thought he was the moon. Phil Lester was definitely the sun.

Word count: 3917

Warnings: A very brief mention of contemplating self-harm.

A/N: Though I’ve been writing fanfiction for like five years, this is my first phanfic, so I hope it’s not too bad. Also, special thanks to Gisele (@fringegaps) for encouraging me to write this, and then for helping me get the confidence to actually post it.

(Ao3 link)

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In the pictured image, a processed composite, the comet was captured early this month after Comet Lovejoy brightened unexpectedly and sported a long and intricate ion tail.

Remarkably, the typically complex effect of the Sun’s wind and magnetic field here caused the middle of Comet Lovejoy’s ion tail to resemble the head of a needle. Comet C/2017 E4 (Lovejoy) was discovered only last month by noted comet discoverer Terry Lovejoy. The comet reached visual magnitude 7 earlier this month, making it a good target for binoculars and long duration exposure cameras.

What’s happened to Comet Lovejoy (E4) since this image was taken might be considered even more remarkable – the comet’s nucleus appeared to be disintegrating and fading as it neared its closest approach to the Sun two days ago.

Image Credit & Copyright: Fritz Helmut Hemmerich

Trailing wishes

a/n: a short story I wrote for a writing club meeting.

There once was girl who was cursed by a mischievous jinn. Her parents stared on in horror as he laughed and said-

“No caveats. A wish free of strings.”

And then he disappeared.

But they had little to fear, because their daughter was also blessed with a bone deep wisdom. Her curiosity was crossed with brambles of temperance, a little bit of blooming pragmatism that prevented her from ever using the wish.

Her first test came when she was six.

She’d wanted a pony for so long…but there was no room in her bed and no room in her yard.

And while the wish battered at her pursed lips, she staunchly refused. The stars were glittering outside her window, beckoning her to make her wish. But she merely shook her head, and wrote down her desire in her yearly to Santa Claus.

She knew it wouldn’t give her what she wanted, but it was the best way to save herself the heartache of a wish.

Because there’s always a catch to the see sort of things.

She grows up with lessons of hard work. Her parents were immigrants. People who believed that the best of life could be reached through effort. So her blessed wish is tucked to the back of her memories.

She lives as she learns. Everything tastes so much sweeter with effort, and even when her hands are rough and she makes terrible mistakes, she simply laughs and files away that lesson for later.

She lives a good life into young adulthood.

And then it becomes one of bittersweetness.

Her mother is cursed with a failing body. The wish is close to breaking through. She’s close to her beside, and when she’s just about to say it, her mother’s eyes flare open and wildly look at her.

Her frail fingers wrap around her wrist and she says.

“Don’t. This is the way it should be.”

The girl merely weeps in agreement, and she learns to live with the lifelong resentment her father looks at her with after her mother passes.

So she lives and loves.

She meets a man. She loves him enough to tell him about her curse.

He calls it a blessing. That should have tipped her off to the worst part of him.

He’s loving. He’s cheerful. But she can’t really blame him for his greed. Ambition is a wonderfully potent thing, and when it clouds your sight, you’ll hurt to get what you want.

He hurts her. With words and with lovers.
He tells her, if you loved me, you would make that wish for me.

Still, her wisdom wins out over her aching, shattered love. She gathers the remnants of what she once felt for him, and hurls them into the depths of her soul.

There’s no need for a clean goodbye.

When he wakes to an empty bed and half the closet free, he regrets.

But she’s long since flown away, her wish trailing despondently behind her.

She travels instead.

She lets the love of humanity fill her to the brim, lets her smile unfurl for those she meets in a strange new land. She helps where she can and learns what she wants.

It’s an existence that comes not without a bit of effort, because in a distant land, she finds a jinn.

It’s a starry night. Her campfire is starkly bright orange against the dark rolling hills of the desert. The bedouins she travels with tell her stories, and when they head off to sleep, one by one, she stays awake. Listening to the crackling of the fire.

It seems to speak, and she swears she can hear it say-

“Why do you not make a wish?”

She answers with a smile of her own, slightly apprehensive that she speaks to a fire.

“Because I want to make my own path.”

The fire remains silent, innocently burning.

“Your own path?” The response comes from a delicately featured man who sits beside her.

He’s dressed in the robes of her travel companions. White and flowing, but his smile is curious and his eyes are golden as the embers that burn close to her toes.

She doesn’t know him.

But there’s something that unfolds at the back of her mind. An answer that tumbles like starlight to the tip of her tongue as she clamps down on her will.

He’s dangerously beckoning. Dangerously uncorking her curiosity.

But she stands firm in her humanity.

“I have no need for wishes, jinn.” She mutters stubbornly, picking at the folds of her blanket. She pointedly meets his gaze, determination etched into her expression. “As a matter of fact, if it’s in your ability, would you please take away the one you gave me.”

He laughs. It’s round, pretty type of laugh that sends shivers down her spine.

And then he shakes his head.

“I wasn’t the jinn that gave you that wish. But it calls me. It trails off of you like a comets’ tail. Are you sure you don’t want it granted?”

She shakes her head firmly, and she merely looks up at the star strewn sky.

“No thank you. I’m content.”

“Content. Not happy?”

“Happy too. And sad. And angry…and everything that I want to feel.”She simply shrugs.

“Curious…very curious. And would you rather spend the rest of your days wondering what would have happened if..”

“If what?” She asks dully, and then sighs. “If I’d wished for my mother to live? If I’d wished to be accepted into that graduate program? If I’d wished for my ex to be successful?”

“If you’d wished for a small horse.” He adds in blithely. And then he gives that same infuriating lovely laugh.

“Sure. If I’d wished for a pony, I’d be more than content…at that moment…when I was eight. If I’d wished she had lived, I would have lost her eventually and she would have hated me for taking away her choice. If I’d wished him success, would he have still loved me?”

She unravels for a bit as she says all of this, and he sees beyond the frustration and the hurt. She’s genuinely living. Hurting and laughing and understanding.

“And you’re correct. Who’s to say that the road not taken would have been a better life?”

“I can’t say. But life’s too short to regret.” She smiles at him. “But I’m going to keep going forward, even if all I am in the end is a shooting star that can’t last.”

“Fair choice.” He agrees and with a musing look. “I could learn much from you.”

She laughs.

“You could learn much from yourself, jinn.”

He makes his own wish. That he may stay to learn a bit more of how to live a life not plagued by certainty.

“May I stay with you until I learn?” He asks quietly, and while he may have an inkling of the future, his path is uncertain for once.

The girl simply shrugs her shoulders underneath her blanket.

“Sure.”

He hums in gratitude, and they watch the stars wheel across the sky into a watery dawn. The wish trailing from her like a shooting star, and his own wish crackling like a patient fire.

His presence is explained in vague terms to her travel companions and is accepted with little suspicion.

And they live a life of learning and regrets. But still she makes no wish, and still, he stays by her side.

She grows old. He’s a being of magic and mayhem, and he does not.

As she’s dying, he holds her withered hand in between his. He is tearful, and for once, her curiosity is free from its bounds and it sparks in her eyes.

“Your wish…you’re falling, my dearest friend.”He tells her, his tears falling hot and heavy against her wrinkled smile.

And she whispers her last words-

“I wish I had lived a life where I made a wish.”

He doesn’t have anything to say to that, because she slumps back onto her pillow.

She made her wish while she still lived. There’s nothing left for him to grant.

He understands then what she had known all along. The value of accepting your choices is a precious thing.

Hey you
Black hole
Soul stealing,
Can’t tell,
Are those
Eyes or stars?

Hey you,
Cold shoulder,
Pretty little
White dress
Chasing
Comet tails,
Are you
Gonna crash
Here?

Hey you,
Constellation catcher
Interstellar,
Burning lips
Blowing kisses
Like
Plasma trails,
Come give in
To gravity.

A little closer.

A little closer, yeah?

—  deAngelo // Milkway’s Primadonna

The annual Lyrid meteor shower peaked before dawn on April 22nd, as our planet plowed through dust from the tail of long-period comet Thatcher. Seen from the high, dark, and dry Atacama desert a waning crescent Moon and brilliant Venus join Lyrid meteor streaks in this composited view. Captured over 5 hours on the night of April 21/22, the meteors stream away from the shower’s radiant, a point not very far on the sky from Vega, alpha star of the constellation Lyra.

In the foreground are domes of the Las Campanas Observatory housing (left to right) the 2.5 meter du Pont Telescope and the 1.3 meter Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment (OGLE) telescope.

Image Credit & Copyright: Yuri Beletsky (Carnegie Las Campanas Observatory, TWAN)

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Maybe You Can Tell Anyone Anything, Even If they’re Gone

If I grow pale from weariness
it’s from the climb to heaven’s gate
the battling clouds and
dodging of comet tails.

But there are so many things I forgot to tell you.

I’ve learned to talk to people,
not caring if they judge me. You
were right, I carry my own luminous light and
I’m shining more.

I miss you and those big squeeze me to death hugs.

You always said I’d remember all the little things,
you were right and
I just wanted to tell you that.