poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘science

what would a home look like on a fictional planet?

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You may not be aware – I keep two blogs, one to consider subjects about real places and one to explore my ideas about science-fiction. If you are interested, click on over to This week’s post is about the homes the characters use in my planet Meniscus stories. You wouldn’t trade your home for any of these! Lots of illustrations too!


Best wishes!


Written by jane tims

June 2, 2018 at 7:14 pm

places off-planet #4 – Comet Hyakutake 1996

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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 #3 – Halley’s Comet 1986

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Halley’s Comet, first recorded by astronomers in 240 BCE, has been a regular visitor through the ages, although people did not realise they were seeing the same comet until astronomer Edmund Halley determined this in 1705.  Halley’s Comet makes an elliptical orbit of the sun and returns to view approximately every 75 years.  It was last seen in 1986.  Halley’s Comet is composed of dust, ice water and other frozen gasses, and was described by astronomer Fred Whipple as a ‘dirty snowball’.  Its nucleus is 15 km long, 8 km wide and 8 km thick; its tail is as much as 100 million km long!

We saw Halley’s Comet as a family, waking in the middle of the night, and driving to a nearby hill overlooking a big field with French Lake and its treeless wetlands in the distance.  The night sky was overcast with a thin high-elevation cloud, so our view was not the best.  However, to me, it was marvellous… a huge (relative to the size of the stars) ball of fuzzy light.  My son can barely remember our watch on the hillside, all swathed in blankets.  However, when it returns in 2061 and he is 78 years old, he will be able to say he saw it twice!

Photo from Wikimedia Commons, taken by Kuiper Airborne Observatory



Halley’s  1987


we choose a roadside watching place

beside a farmer’s field

across from the cemetery

few trees

few lights


we set the alarm for three

coax one another

into the icy car

in awe for an hour

at the comet    fuzzy      indistinct

four fingers above the horizon


too undefined, too faint

for the dirty snowball

they predicted

I scrape our breath from the window

I see it, says my son, only three

I think


he sleeps between us until ten o’clock

his blanket a soft ball

pressed to his nose


almost eighty

he waits for the return


I saw it when I was only young

I think



©  Jane Tims 1997

Written by jane tims

May 7, 2012 at 7:43 am

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