Wet and Cold Spring

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In a few more weeks, summer will arrive here in Melbourne, Australia. So far the springtime was one of the wettest and coldest. Only very few warm and dry days. How strange it was that in New South Wales was very dry and hot earlier this season. Wet spring season is good for many plants as they have enough rain to wake up from their winter sleep.

Our feijoa tree (Acca sellowiana) is growing bigger and with enough rain and cooler weather, the small tree is covered with flowers. Hopefully, we will have many feijoa fruit later. Last year all the flowers dropped and left us without one single fruit.

Acca sellowiana - Feijoa

Feijoa - Acca sellowiana Tree

The roses are doing very well with bigger blooms and the geraniums are flowering like crazy. African daisies and Peruvian lilies are also flowering and the odd thing is the Crucifix orchids (Epidendron radicans/ibaguense is having three stems of tiny-tiny red flowers.

Rose 'Peace'

No-Id Rose

Crucifix Orchid - Epidendrum radicans

To sum it all up, so far spring this year was generally cool with plenty of rain. Many plants are doing very well without obvious problems with bugs and diseases. So it has been an exiting months, especially toward the end of this month when comet Ison will be visible by naked eyes. Though it will not be a good show here in Melbourne and the rest of the southern part of the world, we will have a chance to see it on November 28 & 29. Our son will take us to Mornington Peninsula early morning (pre dawn) on Saturday, November 30. Hopefully we will see the comet very low near the horizon. Also fingers and toes crossed…. we hope comet Ison will be as bright as the prediction and also hopefully the weather is good and clear.

Talking about comets, when I was 13 years old in 1965, I witnessed the biggest, longest and brightest comet ever in our time, It was Comet Ikeya Seki ( C/1965 S1 ). It was in our place in central Java, for many nights, my father woke us up to see the comet. The tail was so big, long and bright; so beautiful, awesome and frightening at the same time for me. Many rumours about the end of the world, bad luck and doom made me more scared to look at the bright comet tail for too long. That time there was no electricity in our village so night sky will be much darker than today. We could see the comet for many nights until it was getting smaller and shorter and then disappeared.



Komet Ikeya-Seki


Ikeya Seki Comet

The drawing of this comet may look inaccurate as to where the position of the nucleus supposed to be. It may be exaggerated in size, but to a young girl’s eyes at the time it was what she saw.

Apakah waktu itu diantara anda ada yang sudah cukup besar/dewasa untuk mengingat Komet Ikeya Seki  yang menampakkan diri ditahun 1965? Inilah pengalaman pribadi yang saya alami saat itu:

Waktu itu dibulan Oktober (menurut data tepatnya adalah 21 Oktober) aku baru berusia 13 tahun. Aku hanya ingat komet yang terang dan besar sekali dan bisa dilihat dengan mata telanjang ini,  kami lihat bersamaan dengan dimulainya aksi G30S yang terjadi di Indonesia. Pemandangan sesuatu diangkasa dimalam hari yang begitu terang dan begitu besar membelah angkasa, bagi seorang anak seperti ku sempat membuat bulu kuduk berdiri. Tak bisa lama aku menatapnya dengan takjub sebelum aku cepat cepat masuk kerumah dengan rasa merinding.

Malam itu Papa membangunkan kami dan bilang ada “Lintang Kemukus” (bahasa Jawa untuk komet atau bintang berekor). Kami semua keluar rumah. Begitu aku mengdongakkan muka kelangit, kulihat ekor Ikeya Seki itu. Hampir memenuhi cakrawala dan begitu terang dan jelas sehingga aku lihat sesuatu yang putih putih seakan akan mengambang diekor komet itu.

Apakah sebenarnya komet ini? Dua astronomer Jepang bernama Kaoru Ikeya dan Tsutomu Seki menemukan benda angkasa ini pada tanggal 18 September 1965. Diperhitungkan dari orbitnya bahwa pada tanggal 21 Oktober komet ini akan bergerak melalui matahari dengan jarak yang dekat sekali yaitu 450.000 Km diatas permukaan matahari. Komet ini merupakan bagian dari Kreutz Sun Grazers dan akan tampak terang dan jelas sekali dari bumi.

Komet Ikeya Seki yang memiliki kode C/1965 S1 ini betul betul menampakkan diri tepat dengan prediksi dan merupakan komet nomor empat yang paling terang dalam sejarah dunia. Panjang ekornya mencapai ukuran sepanjang  70 million miles = 112 654 080 kilometers. Hanya tiga comet lainnya yang memiliki ekor sepanjang itu yaitu komet ditahun 1680, 1811 dan 1843.

Orbit Komet Ikeya Seki panjang sekali sehingga tidak akan kembali mendekati bumi kita sebelum tahun 2565.

Sampai saat ini aku masih bisa dengan jelas membayangkan malam-malam itu waktu kami keluar rumah dimalam hari untuk melihat apakah lintang kemukus itu masih ada. Dalam pandangan mataku sebagai anak berumur 13 tahun, ekor lintang kemukus ini tampak begitu besar hampir membelah angkasa. Masih bisa kurasakan gemetaran badanku karena rasa ngeri. Apalagi setalah ada isyu bahwa lintang kemukus ini akan membawa mala petaka.

Berhari hari Ikeya Seki Komet ini menampakkan diri sebelum akhirnya mengecil ukurannya, memudar dan akhirnya hilanglah dari pandangan.

Catatan 28/11/2013: Kemungkinan besar waktu kami keluar rumah untuk melihat comet Ikeya-Seki ini sudah mendekati fajar atau sebelum matahari terbit. Saya rasanya waktu itu tak pernah lihat jam berapa, yang ingat masih gelap dan setelah melihat kami kembali tidur lagi.

Tulisan saya sebelumnya tentang Komet Ikeya Seki (Bahasa Inggris):



Dibawah ini adalah kutipan menarik yang saya temukan dari artikel yang dimuat di National Geographic – Pebruari 1966, berjudul “Giant Comet Grazes the Sun” oleh Kenneth F. Weaver

Discovery Stories: Tsutomu Seki, Comet Ikeya-Seki (1965 S1)

I am a sea-bred thing. When I feel happy, or lonely, I come down to the sea, for it fills my heart with deep emotion. That night I was dreaming of the sea. I was walking along the shore…

I do not know why, but on that night my wife woke me, very faithfully. Usually she discourages me from observing the stars. Exposing myself to the night dew, she thinks, cannot be very good for my health. Still, she woke me.

At four o’clock, I climbed up to the observing stage on the roof of a storehouse in my courtyard. The starry sky was very beautiful, transparent, as though swept clean by the typhoon two days before. Fine weather! I put my eye to the telescope.

At a quarter past four something refracted through my lenses–a queer, pale celestial body. My heart shook. I broke the stillness before the dawn: “A new comet!”

Tsutomo Seki, on the discovery of Comet Ikeya-Seki (1965 S1) (as reported to National Geographic, from “Giant Comet Grazes the Sun” by Kenneth F. Weaver in the magazine’s February 1966 issue. In the same article, co-discoverer Kaoru Ikeya described the comet at discovery as “shining like a street lamp on a misty night.”)

Ikeya Seki Comet


Java, late October 1965 and I was 13 years old at the time. That night our father woke us up and told us to go outside to see “lintang kemukus”. It is a Javanese name for a comet. When I looked up, there almost filling across the dark sky was the bright tail of Ikeya Seki Comet.  It was so bright and so big that I could see white things floating in it (I’m not sure what they are… could be ice particles or space dust ??). I was standing there with mouth opened wide and my heart beating so fast. Despite the breathtaking beauty, it actually scared me. Was it a message from God? I just felt so humble….

The night after, we checked it again and it was still there as brilliant as before. I heard rumours that the comet was a sign of disaster bound to happen. The old belief said that a comet as bright as that was a sign of bad luck or even the end of the world. The result was that it brought more fear in me. I could not look at it for too long as I started to tremble. (Back in 1965, my knowledge of comets was just about zero. To day we can find any infos as easy as looking at the internet) For many nights it was there until it started to fade and reduced in size and disappeared completely.

Link for another witness of this great comet:


Facts about Ikeya-Seki Comet:

Source: Wikipedia.

Comet Ikeya-Seki, formally designated C/1965 S1, 1965 VIII, and 1965f, was a comet discovered independently by Kaoru Ikeya and Tsutomu Seki. First observed as a faint telescopic object on September 18, 1965, the first calculations of its orbit suggested that on October 21, it would pass just 450,000 km above the Sun’s surface, and would probably become extremely bright.

Comets can defy all predictions, but Ikeya-Seki performed as expected. As it approached perihelion observers reported that it was clearly visible in the daytime sky next to the Sun. In Japan, where it reached perihelion at local noon, it was seen shining at magnitude −10[1]. It proved to be one of the brightest comets seen in the last thousand years, and is sometimes known as the Great Comet of 1965.

The comet was seen to break into three pieces just before its perihelion passage. The three pieces continued in almost identical orbits, and the comet re-appeared in the morning sky in late October, showing a very bright tail. By early 1966, it had faded from view as it receded into the outer solar system.

Ikeya-Seki was a member of the Kreutz Sungrazers, which are all fragments of a large comet which broke up in 1106. The two largest fragments of Ikeya-Seki, labeled S1-A and S1-B, will return to the inner Solar System in 877 and 1,056 years, respectively.(JPL).

It is also said that at its maximum length, Ikeya-Seki’s tail extended for 70 million miles, ranking it as the fourth largest ever recorded.  Only the Great Comets of 1680, 1811 and 1843 had tails stretching farther out into space. While the comet’s head faded rapidly, the tail continued to be visible well into November even as the comet moved rapidly away from the Sun. (Joe Rao).


Ikeya-Seki Comet

Gaping mouths in awe and admiration

Massive, it could be seen through naked eye

Heavenly display very uncommon

Ikeya-Seki comet filled the night sky

Floating in the tail was clear white hue

So vivid, it’s beauty brought dread and fear

In wonder, my young mind raced for a clue

Feeling like in God’s present I shivered

For many nights it appeared before our eyes

Rumours of world’s end was going around

Then it started to fade with no disguise

Life still exists long after it has gone

Other comets are nothing to compare

To October Nineteen Sixty Five’s glare

 Poem written by: Lois B

Other blog about the comet: https://kiyanti2008.wordpress.com/2009/10/25/komet-ikeya-seki/