Omen of things to come?

Comet Neowise seems to glide over the Willapa Hills and the Columbia River estuary in this photo taken from Astoria last week. For the first time in 6,800 years, the comet has entered the inner solar system and is visible to the naked eye or binoculars about an hour after sunset over the horizon to the north-northwest. The comet will remain visible for a few more days before fading back into the darkness. Despite their beauty, comets were often in ancient times regarded as ill omens. For example, Virgil’s epic Latin poem “Aeneid,” written between 29 and 19 BC, observes “Thus threat’ning comets, when by night they rise, Shoot sanguine streams, and sadden all the skies …”

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