-Comet Lovejoy photo: Valentin Grigore
-Ulm photos: Anca Monica Ghita
-text and photos: Andrei Dorian Gheorghe
-design: Florin Alexandru Stancu

In 2016 January
the president of SARM, Valentin Grigore,
photographed Comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy
at the Priseaca Lake, Dambovita County, Romania,
which unfortunately did not have a spectacular tail.

In 2016 February
a job colleague of mine, Anca Monica Ghita,
returned from Ulm (the native town of… Albert Einstein!), Germany,
and showed me a painted comet which she photographed in the local church,
known as the tallest in the world (160 m).

It is to note that the Ulm Munster was begun in 1377 as Catholic
and was finished in 1890 as Protestant (Evangelical-Lutheran),
but I knew nothing about the age of its painted comet.

This “cometary” beginning of that year stimulated me
in 2016 May
to cross the Danube River and, close to it in Bulgaria,
to visit the religious rock-hewn complex of Ivanovo,
made in the 13th-14th centuries by Orthodox Christians
and placed in a splendid zone.

More precisely I visited the main church of this complex,
practically a cave fascinatingly painted in the 14th century,
where I found out a… painted comet, too!

In fact, the complex was made by Orthodox hermits,
who felt threatened by the approach of
the Latin Catholics (who had conquered Constantinople in 1204) and the Muslims,
and preferred to freely practice their belief through isolation.

Anyway, the comparison between the states of spirit
of the two European worlds from after the Big Christian Schism (1054)
appears as amazing:
at the same time (the 14th century),
in west, the Catholic Christians imagined giant cathedrals
(such as the Ulm Munster),
while in east, the Orthodox Christians were forced
to imagine forms of survival
(such as the Ivanovo cave-church).

Then in 2016 June, to complete the theme,
I looked for a modern version of a comet painted in a church
right in my city, Bucharest,
and I found out one in the chapel of the Razoare Church
(Orthodox Christian, made in the 1930s).

And finally I thought of the famous Bayeux Tapestry in France,
which includes a painting with Comet Halley
(the variant of the 11th century)…

Regarding the comet painted at Ivanovo,
I didn’t find references about a Great Comet in the 14th century.

Perhaps Comet Halley again,
which, having a period of 76 years,
was signaled in China at those times…

Any comet gives an indifferent show.
They just come, provoke a lot of passions… and go!


© 2017 SARM
(Romanian Society for Meteors and Astronomy)