Friday, July 17, 2009

From the Archives | Comet Hale-Bopp and a lost ambition

Hale-Bopp 2
Comet Hale-Bopp, as seen in 1996 through the 50mm lens of my Pentax K1000 film camera.

ArchivesMonday's 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing has prompted me to look back into the archives at a later celestial event, a naturally occurring one.

Remember this?

Comet Hale-Bopp was visible for much of 1996 and 1997 without any visual aid - except your eyes, of course. It passed about 122 million miles from Earth, close enough for a wide-angle lens, such as the one on my Pentax K1000, to pick it up. At the ripe age of 12, I took this long exposure featuring the dirty snowball rolling through space.

I was very interested in space and astronomy as a youngster. Living far from city lights in rural Maine made it easy to appreciate the vastness and beauty of what's beyond Earth's atmosphere.

To get even closer to what I saw in the night sky, my career ambition became an astronaut. The blue NASA flight suit that I wore during the early days of elementary school displayed that interest. Oddly enough, I don't remember getting teased for that. I should have, though.

Why I eventually chose journalism over science is beyond me.

1 comment:

Denise said...

It's because you didn't want to have to do math in college.
Oddly enough, if you elected to be an astronaut you'd be facing layoffs now, too.