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K-State Today

December 19, 2013

Sorensen presents 'Comet ISON' at Waterville Community Center

Submitted by Kim Coy

Sorensen Presents Comet "Ison" Talk

Chris Sorensen, Cortelyou-Rust university distinguished professor of physics, presented an invited public talk "Comet ISON" at the Waterville Community Center on Nov. 30.

Sorensen's presentation focused on comets and how in the past they were portents of "disaster" — how "disaster" = "dis" + "star" = evil star. He told of how Halley's comet was our first understanding that comets were natural phenomena thanks to Edmund Halley and Isaac Newton. Chris then talked about recent comets, the solar system, Kuiper belt and the Oort cloud and comet ISON — may it rest in peace. The talk was attended by about 175 people from Waterville and the surrounding communities.

Following the presentation, Sorensen and the rest of the group proceeded to the Waterville golf course to view the night sky with binoculars and telescopes. Sorensen took along his 8-inch Newtonian telescope that he made in high school and a tripod mounted 20 by 80 binocular so that those in attendance were able to view Venus with a crescent, the Pleiades, the Great Andromeda Galaxy and its satellites, and the double cluster in Perseus.