A Nightwatchman's Journey: My Adventures as a comet discoverer and
I was on the way to my high school French Oral exam in
October 1965 when I decided that I wanted to begin a search for comets.
Although I began the search on December 17 that year, it was not until
1984-- 19 years or 917 hours at the eyepiece later-- that I discovered my
first comet. Twenty-one finds later, I still feel that comets are more
than just targets to be catalogued.
Thanks in part to one co-discoveries, Shoemaker-Levy 9, we know more about
the role that comet collisions have played in the origin and evolution of
life on this planet.
I am still searching for comets both visually and with an automated CCD
program. This talk will be about my observing career and how my
childhood fascination with the night sky led to a highly satisfying time
under the night sky.
Through the Back Door: A look at Photographic and
CCD searching at
Jarnac Observatory by Wendee Levy
This presentation explores the photographic and CCD
comet survey at Jarnac Observatory.
Joining science and literature: Shakespeare,
Eclipses, and Changing Ideas of the Cosmos
On October 2, 1605, Londoners were treated to an almost
total eclipse of the Sun at around the same time that Shakespeare's King
Lear was exploring humanity's relation to the cosmos. "These Late
Eclipses in the Sun and Moon" (a passage from the play) begins a
sophisticated discussion of that relation, based on real events in the
night sky. This is just one example of the richness of astronomical
allusions in English Literature that I will explore in this presentation,
which will be accompanied by illustrations and music.
A Time for Mars
A look at the exciting history of Mars, including
Jonathan Swift's prediction of the discovery of two moons in Gulliver's
Travels, Orson Welles' War of the Worlds, and the idea that
life on Earth might have been seeded from Mars. Are we all Martians?
Making Science Make Sense
How do we make science worthy of our passion and
understanding? This presentation offers some ideas, from the personal
viewpoint of someone who is passionate about the night sky.
Visual Comet Searching: A Requiem?
With the development of the major professional surveys,
the golden age of visual comet surveys appears to be over. This presentation
will offer an informal summary of the accomplishments of visual programs, and their
role in the evolution of our understanding of the world of comets.