poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘Hyakutake

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

places off-planet #2 – three comets

with 16 comments

In my life so far, I have seen three major comets – Halley’s Comet in 1986, Hyakutake in 1996, and Hale-Bopp in 1997.  There have been comets since then, I know, but I have always been asleep!

A comet is composed of a ‘nucleus’ of rock, dust and frozen gas, and a tail.  The tail is formed when the gasses in the nucleus are heated by the sun and create an atmosphere or ‘coma’.  The sun’s radiation and the solar wind cause the coma to flow away from the sun as a tail.  Since the comet can be moving away from the sun, sometimes this means the comet moves in the direction of its tail!

How many comets have you seen?





from the Greek



to wear long hair


©  Jane Tims 1997


Written by jane tims

May 5, 2012 at 6:36 am

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