Monday, June 21, 2010

Comet On The Curve

I'm walking home the other evening. To the west is a crescent moon. Above it is another object, most likely Venus. Or is it?

The bright spot above the moon is elongated. A comet?

Not really. I stop and stare at the puzzling light, moving my head up and down. I've worn eyeglasses since I was a pre-teen (I'm nearsighted) and over the years my lenses have grown thicker to keep pace with my deteriorating vision. As I lower and raise my glass Coke-bottle-bottoms, I noticed that the trail changes into a point when the light is centered in my lenses.

Obviously the elongation was distortion caused by the curvature of my glasses. One would think I would have noticed this sooner but apparently conditions weren't right until recently.

Now I see why when a field investigator makes an UFO report he notes whether or not the observer wears corrective lenses.


Doug said...

Would this happen with contact lenses? Moot. You probably can't fit Coke bottles under your eyelids.

Maybe take a picture and look at that later. Wait. Then you could get distortion if you don't hold your hand steady.

Hmm... this may take some time. Shouldn't there be alien technology that would fix this?

X. Dell said...

Fascinating. Yet one more thing to think about when seeing the phenomena of the night sky. I too wear glasses, for farsightedness and astigmatism. I wonder what I would see if I'd just look up.