A Tuna Uptown parking fuss

tchitwood@ledger-enquirer.comMarch 10, 2013 

Out of money, out of hope: It looks like self-destruction, but it's Monday Mail.

Metra gnomes

Another public meeting to discuss Uptown Columbus street-parking issues contrived to justify Metra Parking Management's further harassing people to drive them into Metra's parking garages will be 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Springer's Foley Hall, an appropriate venue for such comedy. ("A Tuna Ruckus.") Go ask why Metra needs money.

Free bird

Last week's Monday Mail made the mistake of saying the Jacksonville, Fla., band Molly Hatchet recorded the song "Chattahoochee," based on the mental health facility in Chattahoochee, Fla., but in fact it was the Jacksonville, Fla., band .38 Special.

Fortunately, our online readers were onto it right away. Wrote "jburner":

Molly Hatchet is a good guess but try 38 Special.

Dear jburner:

Thanks for the correction. Now tell me what sort of headbanger renaissance was going on in Jacksonville, Fla., then.

Event horizon

Today we set aside other reader feedback to run this NASA special report on the first of two comets we're supposed to be able to see this year, if we know when and where to look:

Comets visible to the naked eye are a rare delicacy. Scientists estimate the opportunity to see one of these icy dirtballs without the aid of a telescope happens once every five to 10 years. There may be two naked-eye comets available for your viewing pleasure this year.

"You might have heard of a comet ISON, which may become a spectacular naked-eye comet later this fall," said Amy Mainzer, the principal investigator of NASA's NEOWISE mission at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "But if you have the right conditions you don't have to wait for ISON. Comet PANSTARRS will be making its appearance in the skies of the Northern Hemisphere just after twilight."

Discovered in June 2011, comet PANSTARRS bears the name of the telescopic survey that discovered it -- "Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System" atop the Haleakala volcano in Hawaii.

"There is a catch to viewing comet PANSTARRS," said Mainzer. "This one is not that bright and is going to be low on the western horizon, so you'll need a relatively unobstructed view to the southwest at twilight and, of course, some good comet-watching weather."

As it continues its nightly trek across the sky, the comet may get lost in the sun's glare but should return and be visible to the naked eye by March 12.

The comet will appear as a bright point of light with its diffuse tail pointing nearly straight up from the horizon like an exclamation point.

Tim Chitwood, tchitwood@ledger-enquirer.com, 706-571-8508.

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