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My Theater of Comets Website
I selected Theater of Comets as the title for my Comet site based on the book 'Theatrum Cometicum' (The Theatre of Comets) to pay homage to Stanislaus Lubienietzki. He lived in the mid 1600's, (1623-1675) and was about the same age as my ancestor, John O'Neale, who fled religious persecution and migrated to the "Colony" as a young man in the mid 1600's.

Lubienietzki's 872 page treatise on comets, now  over 350 years old, (published in 1668) is a truly fascinating book filled with a lot of good science as well as over 80 totally beautiful engravings.

It provides accounts of over 400 comet sightings throughout history and in discussing their meaning, Lubienietzki essentially helps usher in a more astronomical rather than astrological approach to the study of comets.

Unfortunately, his contribution to science was not recognized in his lifetime. He is said to have been persecuted by Lutheran ministers for his "radical viewpoints", and they ultimately murdered him and his 2 daughters with poison.

Much of the book is devoted to recording the observations across Europe of comets that occurred in 1664/1665 by eminent scholars such as Athanasius Kircher, Caspar Schott, Otto von Guericke, Christian Huygens and Johannes Hevelius, among others.

The whole of 'Theatrum Cometicum' is available online at the National Digital Library of Poland.

 In addition to being an astronomer, Lubienietzki was a historian and is remembered for the posthumous publication of The History of the Polish Reformation
('Historia Reformationis Polonicae').

My Theater of Comets is not a scientific treatise like Lubienietzki's. It's more a relaxed rambling through over 30 years of enjoying and observing comets.

My cometary tale (excuse the pun) began in the mid 1970's with Comet Kahoutek and is still going strong in the year 2020.

In the early years I depended on verbage and pencil drawings to record my impressions of these ethereal visitors.

As circumstances permitted I obtained a telescope and camera and began capturing images on film. And more recently I've converted over to digital imaging.

I've run the gamut of emotions with my comets. For example, the 1986 apparition of Comet Halley was an abysmal disappointment, probably because the advertising media hyped it to such extremes. (Buy a telescope!!!)

The other side of the coin, of course, was the spactacular outburst of Comet Holmes, my all-time favorite Comet.

Another once in a lifetime event was the Shoemaker-Levy comet, breaking up into pieces and then colliding into the atmosphere of Jupiter. This was the first time in the entirety of recorded history that anyone had witnessed a stellar body colliding into a planet.

I also listened to Jupiter's radio signal on a short wave receiver and wasactually able to hear the disruption in Jupiter's radio signal as the cometary fragments impacted the Jovian atmosphere.

On this site I will display photos and relay my impressions of the various comets I've observed over the last few decades.

Enjoy, John O'Neal, NC Stargazer