Yellow Dot

The Red Line was a mess again last night, so Amy and I opted to ride the Orange Line till Capitol South, then just trek home from there. It was a cool evening, the last glow of sunlight fading over the southwest horizon, the sky clear and mostly cloudless.

As we walked towards the Capitol Lower Terrace, I remembered that Comet Holmes was still bright, so we looked up to the northeast sky. It was a bit hard to find, but sure enough, in the constellation Perseus (to the right of Casseiopeia’s flat sideways “W”), there was a faint, fuzzy yellow dot, visible to the naked eye despite the bright, diffuse glare from the floodlit Capitol Dome. Far out there, a dying comet had just belched a cloud of ice and dust, bright and reflective enough that it could shine down on us even through urban light pollution.

Sadly I had no camera with me, and it probably wouldn’t have been able to pick up that faint, fuzzy yellow dot anyway, even without the light glare. Times like these I wish I had a telescope, but then that would mean lugging it all the way down to the National Mall and setting up the tripod and it makes me sleepy and tired just thinking about it, so here’s Spaceweather’s Comet Holmes gallery instead.

Then we went home and ate dumplings and noodles, and Amy sketched an Osage Orange we had picked up, and I played multiplayer Half Life 1 and sucked at it.