On Wednesday, around the time lots of us were catching up on mediocre holiday-week TV, International Space Station Commander Dan Burbank was having about 99 astounding things done to his brain 240 miles above Tasmania. After catching some lightning storms from above, the astronaut happened to stumble across the death-defying Comet Lovejoy as it raced to beat the Sun over the horizon. It was a spectacle he later described as the "most amazing thing I have ever seen in space."
Thanks a lot, Burbank. You've just made it all the more difficult not to feel like a complete loser when watching Terra Nova.
NASA has called the meeting "unprecedented" and erected a gallery of fantastic images in its honor. If you look closely, you can see Lovejoy's two tails of dust and ions fan out across the ebony vacuum, tails it regrew after the previous ones were blown clean off by the Sun. (The third tail is invisible.) Peep below for a video of what Burbank saw, which, as the cruel commander points out, carries a hundredth of the Wow! factor of seeing the real thing.