NCERT Textbook - The Comet I Class 8 Notes | EduRev

English (It so Happened) Class 8

Class 8 : NCERT Textbook - The Comet I Class 8 Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


Before you read
A new comet has appeared in the sky and is heading straight for the
earth. A head-on collision, which is nearly unavoidable, will mean the
end of life on this planet. Scientists and religious leaders react to this
situation in two different ways. What happens to the comet?
I
• Duttada, an amateur scientist, can’t stay away from the
keen-eyed Dibya Chakshu for long.
• Dibya helps him achieve his secret ambition.
• Duttada’s wife, Indrani Debi, wishes he hadn’t found the object of his
search.
IT was a moonless night in December. A burst of cool breeze from
the window was enough to disturb the sleep of Indrani Debi. Half
awake she felt for the adjoining pillow, although she knew the
answer. Duttada was not there.
“So he has gone to hobnob with that wretched Dibya! At least he
might have bothered to close the door.” Even as she muttered her
complaints Indrani Debi could not repress her smile. She knew
how utterly oblivious her husband was of the practical problems of
living. Didn’t his doctor tell him to take special precautions against
the cold? But he wouldn’t remember to put on a sweater even if it
The comet – I
9
hobnob: have friendly talk/spend time together  oblivious: forgetful
2019-20
Page 2


Before you read
A new comet has appeared in the sky and is heading straight for the
earth. A head-on collision, which is nearly unavoidable, will mean the
end of life on this planet. Scientists and religious leaders react to this
situation in two different ways. What happens to the comet?
I
• Duttada, an amateur scientist, can’t stay away from the
keen-eyed Dibya Chakshu for long.
• Dibya helps him achieve his secret ambition.
• Duttada’s wife, Indrani Debi, wishes he hadn’t found the object of his
search.
IT was a moonless night in December. A burst of cool breeze from
the window was enough to disturb the sleep of Indrani Debi. Half
awake she felt for the adjoining pillow, although she knew the
answer. Duttada was not there.
“So he has gone to hobnob with that wretched Dibya! At least he
might have bothered to close the door.” Even as she muttered her
complaints Indrani Debi could not repress her smile. She knew
how utterly oblivious her husband was of the practical problems of
living. Didn’t his doctor tell him to take special precautions against
the cold? But he wouldn’t remember to put on a sweater even if it
The comet – I
9
hobnob: have friendly talk/spend time together  oblivious: forgetful
2019-20
It so happened...
74 74 74 74 74
tete-a-tete: private meeting/talk between two persons  acquired: (here) bought
astronomer: a scholar of the science of the sun, moon, stars, planets, etc.
was lying on his bedside chair! How could he when Dibya had put
her spell on him?
She picked up the white woollen pullover, wrapped herself in a
shawl and made her way to the roof, to break up his tete-a-tete
with Dibya.
 She found them both huddled together eye to eye. At least
Duttada was looking into Dibya’s eyes.
When Duttada acquired this telescope he was so thrilled that
he called it Dibya Chakshu — Divine Eye. To Indrani Debi the
telescope was like a designing woman who had ensnared her
husband. So she just called it Dibya and the name stuck.
To Duttada the telescope marked the fulfilment of the ambition
of a lifetime. As an amateur astronomer he had longed for enough
money to buy a good telescope and for enough spare time in which
to observe the heavens. He got them both when he retired with ample
money. The telescope was duly installed and long were the dark
nights that Duttada spent in star-gazing. At least Indrani Debi
thought so.
2019-20
Page 3


Before you read
A new comet has appeared in the sky and is heading straight for the
earth. A head-on collision, which is nearly unavoidable, will mean the
end of life on this planet. Scientists and religious leaders react to this
situation in two different ways. What happens to the comet?
I
• Duttada, an amateur scientist, can’t stay away from the
keen-eyed Dibya Chakshu for long.
• Dibya helps him achieve his secret ambition.
• Duttada’s wife, Indrani Debi, wishes he hadn’t found the object of his
search.
IT was a moonless night in December. A burst of cool breeze from
the window was enough to disturb the sleep of Indrani Debi. Half
awake she felt for the adjoining pillow, although she knew the
answer. Duttada was not there.
“So he has gone to hobnob with that wretched Dibya! At least he
might have bothered to close the door.” Even as she muttered her
complaints Indrani Debi could not repress her smile. She knew
how utterly oblivious her husband was of the practical problems of
living. Didn’t his doctor tell him to take special precautions against
the cold? But he wouldn’t remember to put on a sweater even if it
The comet – I
9
hobnob: have friendly talk/spend time together  oblivious: forgetful
2019-20
It so happened...
74 74 74 74 74
tete-a-tete: private meeting/talk between two persons  acquired: (here) bought
astronomer: a scholar of the science of the sun, moon, stars, planets, etc.
was lying on his bedside chair! How could he when Dibya had put
her spell on him?
She picked up the white woollen pullover, wrapped herself in a
shawl and made her way to the roof, to break up his tete-a-tete
with Dibya.
 She found them both huddled together eye to eye. At least
Duttada was looking into Dibya’s eyes.
When Duttada acquired this telescope he was so thrilled that
he called it Dibya Chakshu — Divine Eye. To Indrani Debi the
telescope was like a designing woman who had ensnared her
husband. So she just called it Dibya and the name stuck.
To Duttada the telescope marked the fulfilment of the ambition
of a lifetime. As an amateur astronomer he had longed for enough
money to buy a good telescope and for enough spare time in which
to observe the heavens. He got them both when he retired with ample
money. The telescope was duly installed and long were the dark
nights that Duttada spent in star-gazing. At least Indrani Debi
thought so.
2019-20
The comet – I
75 75 75 75 75
“Here! Put on this sweater — or do you want Nabin Babu to
order bed-rest tomorrow?”
Like every other amateur astronomer, Duttada had a secret ambition
that he would one day discover a new comet. For, comets can be new,
coming as they do from the remote corners of the Solar System. Like
planets, comets also orbit round the Sun but their orbits are highly
eccentric. So once in a while a comet comes close to the Sun; it has a
longish tail that is lit brilliantly by the sunlight and then it recedes
into darkness not to be seen again for years, or for centuries.
What chance did he stand with his eight-inch Dibya? Didn’t
professional astronomers have gigantic telescopes?
Duttada was optimistic... he knew that the professionals with
their pre-assigned programmes would be looking at faint stars and
nebulous galaxies. They might miss such an insignificant thing as
a comet which they were not expecting to see anyway! Indeed
amateurs had often discovered new comets which the professionals
had missed.
And, it looked to Duttada that tonight was going to be the big
night. For against the background of the same old stars Duttada
had detected a faint stranger. He re-examined the charts with him,
checked his Dibya for any smudges on the optics, did some
calculations on his pocket calculator in torchlight — for, though
absent-minded about daily chores, he was meticulous in
his observations.
Yes, there can be no mistake. What he was looking at had not
been there earlier and it did look like a new comet.
Two days later the Ananda Bazar Patrika came out with the news:
Calcutta Man Discovers New Comet
(From our special correspondent)
Shri Manoj Dutta, a resident on the northern outskirts of Calcutta* has
claimed to have discovered a new comet. He has seen the comet on the last
two nights and has informed the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) at
eccentric: unusual/unlike the orbits of other planets  recedes: goes back; disappears
optimistic: hopeful; expecting the best  nebulous: hazy  smudges: spots/marks  optics:
Dibya’s eyes (glass) through which he detected the comet  meticulous: careful and exact
* now, Kolkata
2019-20
Page 4


Before you read
A new comet has appeared in the sky and is heading straight for the
earth. A head-on collision, which is nearly unavoidable, will mean the
end of life on this planet. Scientists and religious leaders react to this
situation in two different ways. What happens to the comet?
I
• Duttada, an amateur scientist, can’t stay away from the
keen-eyed Dibya Chakshu for long.
• Dibya helps him achieve his secret ambition.
• Duttada’s wife, Indrani Debi, wishes he hadn’t found the object of his
search.
IT was a moonless night in December. A burst of cool breeze from
the window was enough to disturb the sleep of Indrani Debi. Half
awake she felt for the adjoining pillow, although she knew the
answer. Duttada was not there.
“So he has gone to hobnob with that wretched Dibya! At least he
might have bothered to close the door.” Even as she muttered her
complaints Indrani Debi could not repress her smile. She knew
how utterly oblivious her husband was of the practical problems of
living. Didn’t his doctor tell him to take special precautions against
the cold? But he wouldn’t remember to put on a sweater even if it
The comet – I
9
hobnob: have friendly talk/spend time together  oblivious: forgetful
2019-20
It so happened...
74 74 74 74 74
tete-a-tete: private meeting/talk between two persons  acquired: (here) bought
astronomer: a scholar of the science of the sun, moon, stars, planets, etc.
was lying on his bedside chair! How could he when Dibya had put
her spell on him?
She picked up the white woollen pullover, wrapped herself in a
shawl and made her way to the roof, to break up his tete-a-tete
with Dibya.
 She found them both huddled together eye to eye. At least
Duttada was looking into Dibya’s eyes.
When Duttada acquired this telescope he was so thrilled that
he called it Dibya Chakshu — Divine Eye. To Indrani Debi the
telescope was like a designing woman who had ensnared her
husband. So she just called it Dibya and the name stuck.
To Duttada the telescope marked the fulfilment of the ambition
of a lifetime. As an amateur astronomer he had longed for enough
money to buy a good telescope and for enough spare time in which
to observe the heavens. He got them both when he retired with ample
money. The telescope was duly installed and long were the dark
nights that Duttada spent in star-gazing. At least Indrani Debi
thought so.
2019-20
The comet – I
75 75 75 75 75
“Here! Put on this sweater — or do you want Nabin Babu to
order bed-rest tomorrow?”
Like every other amateur astronomer, Duttada had a secret ambition
that he would one day discover a new comet. For, comets can be new,
coming as they do from the remote corners of the Solar System. Like
planets, comets also orbit round the Sun but their orbits are highly
eccentric. So once in a while a comet comes close to the Sun; it has a
longish tail that is lit brilliantly by the sunlight and then it recedes
into darkness not to be seen again for years, or for centuries.
What chance did he stand with his eight-inch Dibya? Didn’t
professional astronomers have gigantic telescopes?
Duttada was optimistic... he knew that the professionals with
their pre-assigned programmes would be looking at faint stars and
nebulous galaxies. They might miss such an insignificant thing as
a comet which they were not expecting to see anyway! Indeed
amateurs had often discovered new comets which the professionals
had missed.
And, it looked to Duttada that tonight was going to be the big
night. For against the background of the same old stars Duttada
had detected a faint stranger. He re-examined the charts with him,
checked his Dibya for any smudges on the optics, did some
calculations on his pocket calculator in torchlight — for, though
absent-minded about daily chores, he was meticulous in
his observations.
Yes, there can be no mistake. What he was looking at had not
been there earlier and it did look like a new comet.
Two days later the Ananda Bazar Patrika came out with the news:
Calcutta Man Discovers New Comet
(From our special correspondent)
Shri Manoj Dutta, a resident on the northern outskirts of Calcutta* has
claimed to have discovered a new comet. He has seen the comet on the last
two nights and has informed the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) at
eccentric: unusual/unlike the orbits of other planets  recedes: goes back; disappears
optimistic: hopeful; expecting the best  nebulous: hazy  smudges: spots/marks  optics:
Dibya’s eyes (glass) through which he detected the comet  meticulous: careful and exact
* now, Kolkata
2019-20
It so happened...
76 76 76 76 76
Bangalore* of its whereabouts. The IIA runs a 90-inch telescope, the biggest
in Asia, at Kavalur. If it confirms Dutta’s finding it will be the high point in
his lifelong career as amateur astronomer. Duttada, as he is affectionately
called by his friends and admirers, estimates that the comet would be clearly
visible to the naked eye in the next few months. He gives all credit for his
discovery to his eight-inch telescope which he calls Dibya.
Thereafter it took just one week for ‘Comet Dutta’ to be recognised
and so named. For the IIA confirmed the findings and communicated
it worldwide and, according to the accepted practice, the new comet
was named after its discoverer.
This brought in unwelcome publicity to the introvert Duttada.
There were numerous receptions and functions to attend. Returning
from one such ceremony Duttada muttered to himself in disgust, “I
almost wish I had not discovered this comet.”
To his surprise Indrani Debi agreed. “I wish the same, though
not for the same reason”.
“May I ask why you wish I had not discovered this comet?”
Duttada asked.
“Comets bring ill-luck and I wish a good man like you were not
associated with the discovery of one,” Indrani Debi said with concern.
Duttada laughed. “I see that even an MA degree has not cured
you of your superstitions! There is no corelation whatsoever with
the arrival of a comet and the calamities of the earth. On the contrary
comets have been scientifically studied and their composition is
well understood. There is nothing harmful about them. Well, you
will soon see this comet of mine pass harmlessly by causing no
anxiety to anybody.”
In this last comment, however, Duttada was not going to be
exactly right.
* now, Bengaluru
introvert: one who is preoccupied with his/her own thoughts and feelings—not
interested in things outside oneself  disgust: strong dislike or disapproval  calamities:
disasters/misfortunes
2019-20
Page 5


Before you read
A new comet has appeared in the sky and is heading straight for the
earth. A head-on collision, which is nearly unavoidable, will mean the
end of life on this planet. Scientists and religious leaders react to this
situation in two different ways. What happens to the comet?
I
• Duttada, an amateur scientist, can’t stay away from the
keen-eyed Dibya Chakshu for long.
• Dibya helps him achieve his secret ambition.
• Duttada’s wife, Indrani Debi, wishes he hadn’t found the object of his
search.
IT was a moonless night in December. A burst of cool breeze from
the window was enough to disturb the sleep of Indrani Debi. Half
awake she felt for the adjoining pillow, although she knew the
answer. Duttada was not there.
“So he has gone to hobnob with that wretched Dibya! At least he
might have bothered to close the door.” Even as she muttered her
complaints Indrani Debi could not repress her smile. She knew
how utterly oblivious her husband was of the practical problems of
living. Didn’t his doctor tell him to take special precautions against
the cold? But he wouldn’t remember to put on a sweater even if it
The comet – I
9
hobnob: have friendly talk/spend time together  oblivious: forgetful
2019-20
It so happened...
74 74 74 74 74
tete-a-tete: private meeting/talk between two persons  acquired: (here) bought
astronomer: a scholar of the science of the sun, moon, stars, planets, etc.
was lying on his bedside chair! How could he when Dibya had put
her spell on him?
She picked up the white woollen pullover, wrapped herself in a
shawl and made her way to the roof, to break up his tete-a-tete
with Dibya.
 She found them both huddled together eye to eye. At least
Duttada was looking into Dibya’s eyes.
When Duttada acquired this telescope he was so thrilled that
he called it Dibya Chakshu — Divine Eye. To Indrani Debi the
telescope was like a designing woman who had ensnared her
husband. So she just called it Dibya and the name stuck.
To Duttada the telescope marked the fulfilment of the ambition
of a lifetime. As an amateur astronomer he had longed for enough
money to buy a good telescope and for enough spare time in which
to observe the heavens. He got them both when he retired with ample
money. The telescope was duly installed and long were the dark
nights that Duttada spent in star-gazing. At least Indrani Debi
thought so.
2019-20
The comet – I
75 75 75 75 75
“Here! Put on this sweater — or do you want Nabin Babu to
order bed-rest tomorrow?”
Like every other amateur astronomer, Duttada had a secret ambition
that he would one day discover a new comet. For, comets can be new,
coming as they do from the remote corners of the Solar System. Like
planets, comets also orbit round the Sun but their orbits are highly
eccentric. So once in a while a comet comes close to the Sun; it has a
longish tail that is lit brilliantly by the sunlight and then it recedes
into darkness not to be seen again for years, or for centuries.
What chance did he stand with his eight-inch Dibya? Didn’t
professional astronomers have gigantic telescopes?
Duttada was optimistic... he knew that the professionals with
their pre-assigned programmes would be looking at faint stars and
nebulous galaxies. They might miss such an insignificant thing as
a comet which they were not expecting to see anyway! Indeed
amateurs had often discovered new comets which the professionals
had missed.
And, it looked to Duttada that tonight was going to be the big
night. For against the background of the same old stars Duttada
had detected a faint stranger. He re-examined the charts with him,
checked his Dibya for any smudges on the optics, did some
calculations on his pocket calculator in torchlight — for, though
absent-minded about daily chores, he was meticulous in
his observations.
Yes, there can be no mistake. What he was looking at had not
been there earlier and it did look like a new comet.
Two days later the Ananda Bazar Patrika came out with the news:
Calcutta Man Discovers New Comet
(From our special correspondent)
Shri Manoj Dutta, a resident on the northern outskirts of Calcutta* has
claimed to have discovered a new comet. He has seen the comet on the last
two nights and has informed the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) at
eccentric: unusual/unlike the orbits of other planets  recedes: goes back; disappears
optimistic: hopeful; expecting the best  nebulous: hazy  smudges: spots/marks  optics:
Dibya’s eyes (glass) through which he detected the comet  meticulous: careful and exact
* now, Kolkata
2019-20
It so happened...
76 76 76 76 76
Bangalore* of its whereabouts. The IIA runs a 90-inch telescope, the biggest
in Asia, at Kavalur. If it confirms Dutta’s finding it will be the high point in
his lifelong career as amateur astronomer. Duttada, as he is affectionately
called by his friends and admirers, estimates that the comet would be clearly
visible to the naked eye in the next few months. He gives all credit for his
discovery to his eight-inch telescope which he calls Dibya.
Thereafter it took just one week for ‘Comet Dutta’ to be recognised
and so named. For the IIA confirmed the findings and communicated
it worldwide and, according to the accepted practice, the new comet
was named after its discoverer.
This brought in unwelcome publicity to the introvert Duttada.
There were numerous receptions and functions to attend. Returning
from one such ceremony Duttada muttered to himself in disgust, “I
almost wish I had not discovered this comet.”
To his surprise Indrani Debi agreed. “I wish the same, though
not for the same reason”.
“May I ask why you wish I had not discovered this comet?”
Duttada asked.
“Comets bring ill-luck and I wish a good man like you were not
associated with the discovery of one,” Indrani Debi said with concern.
Duttada laughed. “I see that even an MA degree has not cured
you of your superstitions! There is no corelation whatsoever with
the arrival of a comet and the calamities of the earth. On the contrary
comets have been scientifically studied and their composition is
well understood. There is nothing harmful about them. Well, you
will soon see this comet of mine pass harmlessly by causing no
anxiety to anybody.”
In this last comment, however, Duttada was not going to be
exactly right.
* now, Bengaluru
introvert: one who is preoccupied with his/her own thoughts and feelings—not
interested in things outside oneself  disgust: strong dislike or disapproval  calamities:
disasters/misfortunes
2019-20
The comet – I
77 77 77 77 77
Comprehension Check
1. Why does Indrani Debi dislike Duttada’s “hobnobbing” with Dibya?
2. She is complaining and smiling. Why is she smiling?
3. (i) What was Duttada’s secret ambition?
(ii) What did he do to achieve it?
4. What is the difference between a planet and a comet, as given in the
story?
5. Why was Duttada hopeful that he would discover a new comet soon?
6. Why does Duttada say — “I almost wish I had not discovered this
comet.”?
7. Why is his wife unhappy about the discovery?
II
• A British scientist writes a paper based on Duttada’s discovery.
• He and the Defence Science Advisor have a tete-a-tete over an
impending calamity.
• A conference of international experts might yield a clue to the
cosmic puzzle.
In the spacious dining hall of King’s College, Cambridge, the butler
whispered deferentially in the Provost’s ear and handed him an envelope
on a silver tray. The Provost beckoned James and passed on the
envelope saying, “It seems you are wanted urgently inyour room.”
As he made his way towards the beautiful building, James opened
the envelope. It contained a brief note:
Dear Dr Forsyth,
The bearer of this note has been instructed to bring you to my office in
London tonight. Please come without delay. I am making arrangements
for your overnight stay in London. I regret the inconvenience caused to
you and request you to keep your visit strictly confidential. Believe me, it
is absolutely essential.
Yours sincerely,
John Macpherson
The signature carried the designation underneath: Defence
Science Advisor, Her Majesty’s Government.
deferentially: respectfully
2019-20
Read More
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