July 29, 2008 #012 - Comet Mrkos, Sputnik 1, Weather Balloons

During the next summer I saw my first Comet. C/1957 P1 (Mrkos) I have read on the net where others have mentioned this comet as their first sighting. It was bright and easily visible in July and August. Also, weather balloons were common during that summer. I would see them with the sun illuminating them after sunset. I would guess that they were at high altitude as they were fully expanded, looking like small versions of the moon in the telescope. During frequent walks in the countryside I have found pieces of balloon outer skin laying in fields. Twice I have found instrument packages with battery packs. My new Edmund 3 inch Reflector got a workout following these balloons, Venus, Jupiter, and the moon.

There was also great excitement that year when Russia launched Sputnik 1. We listened to it on the radio. The space age had dawned. Exciting times.

Clear Sky - Rich

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