poetry and prose about place

places off-planet #4 – Comet Hyakutake 1996

with 6 comments

Comet Hyakutake had a nucleus of about 2 km in diameter and a tail-length of 570 million km.  The Ulysses spacecraft is known to have flown through Haykutake’s tail.  One of the comet’s notable characteristics was its blue-green color.  It was bright to the naked eye for only a few days.

I remember Hyakutake as a ‘knock-you-off-your-feet’ surprise.  I knew it could be seen, but I hadn’t made any effort to look for it.  One night as I arrived home, I saw it shining through the trees at the end of the driveway, and climbed the snowbank at the end of the drive to investigate.  I saw the comet and literally stumbled backward in amazement!

Did you see Comet Hyakutake in 1996?


photo is from Wikimedia Commons

taken by E. Kolmhofer and H. Raab of the Johannes-Kepler-Observatory




a comet


she runs in the solar wind

pale night woman

her face to the sun

hair and petals     streaming


ephemeral, strewn in whispers

soft fistfuls of light

tresses tangled

in the fingers of the forest



©  Jane Tims  1997

Written by jane tims

May 11, 2012 at 9:04 am

6 Responses

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  1. Your poetry is lovely. Vivid descriptions and images. “She runs in the solar wind” is a beautiful line.


    Carol Steel

    May 11, 2012 at 11:23 pm

  2. Excellent poem and drawing Jane! [drawing for the three comets post]



    May 11, 2012 at 2:06 pm

  3. Hi Jane,
    Lovely poem! Yes I did see Hyakutake in 1996. I was attending university at the time and the astronomy class had set up telescopes. It was amazing. I was so excited that I tried to take a photo with my polaroid camara. Of course, my photo turned out completly black! Ha! I keep it in an album as a humouristic souvenir.


    Krista MacKenzie

    May 11, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    • Hi Krista. I’m so glad you left a comment!!! I love your story. If I tossed out my bad photos, I’d have none left at all. Glad you saw Hyakutake… a bit of history we share! Jane


      jane tims

      May 11, 2012 at 9:43 pm

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