"It was 20 years ago...."

...yesterday, apparently. If it weren't for Tim noticing I probably wouldn't have noticed either — which is kind of terrible really.

Giotto was such an amazing mission, there was something about it that was quite different from anything else I'd watched before (sorry, I'm too young to have watched and appreciated the first Apollo landing — besides, I was on holiday in Scarborough at the time, with no TV). As a child, reading all I could about astronomy, comets came over as such "mystical" objects while at the same time seeming to be almost in our grasp. Halley held a special place too because it's the comet that I read about the most and it was going to return "soon". The wait for Halley seemed to take ages (the 20 years that have passed seem to have flown) and the excitement of seeing something, anything, was incredible.

I spent that night watching it on TV, I think it was a Sky at Night special, along with a few other friends and fellow members of the York Astronomical Society.

Interestingly, from what I can gather, the craft is still out there and it last flew by Earth back in 1999.

File Under: Giotto, ESA, Comet Halley.

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