Nov
05
2007

Comet DEMANDS attention!

Attention seeking comet: Comet Holmes photographed in 6" reflector telescope, 100x, 2 seconds, 400iso on Oct 25,2007, 7:10 UT (from Minneapolis, Minnesota)  Image courtesy Tom Ruen via Wikipedia.
Attention seeking comet: Comet Holmes photographed in 6" reflector telescope, 100x, 2 seconds, 400iso on Oct 25,2007, 7:10 UT (from Minneapolis, Minnesota) Image courtesy Tom Ruen via Wikipedia.
So, in the category of “we don’t know why this is happening but you should check it out” a comet that used to be so dim you needed a telescope to see it has become suddenly so much brighter it can now be seen with the naked eye.

Comet 17P Holmes, visible to northern hemisphere residents, is practically demanding attention by suddenly becoming just over half a million times brighter than it was just a few hours previously. The comet can be found in the constellation Perseus and is visible for most of the night, and thanks to daylight savings time is easier to see earlier in the day. It resembles a fuzzy, yellowish star.

The comet was originally discovered by British astronomer Edwin Holmes on November 6, 1892. The crazy thing is, he discovered it because of a similar incident to what is happening now, it suddenly became so much brighter it was easily observable. Practically 115 years to the day! Also crazy is that if you think about its size (no more than 2 miles in diameter) and its distance from the Earth, it has to really be glowing to be seen!

In 1892 the comet faded after a few weeks, and we should expect a similar fading to happen in this instance – so get out there now to see this once in a lifetime opportunity! (Binoculars will help.)

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Tom Ruen's picture
Tom Ruen says:

I'm surprised my humble photograph propagates here!

Much better photos online, some on Wikipedia.

Best I've seen is a long exposure deep sky view. (Perseus is in a dense star area of the milky way!!)

But the SKY is definitely worth a look, especially in binoculars! Enjoy!

posted on Wed, 11/07/2007 - 5:26pm
Joe's picture
Joe says:

Thanks for stopping by Tom! I hope you don't mind, but I made your web addresses into links so they are easier for folks to get to.

Has anyone seen this comet themselves? Have any photos to share? Let us know!

posted on Thu, 11/08/2007 - 10:03am
JARVIS's picture
JARVIS says:

I was just wondering where in the sky this comet can be located. And if it is so small why hasn't it burned up yet??

posted on Wed, 02/27/2008 - 10:41am
Joe's picture
Joe says:

The comet remains visible in the constellation Perseus. Follow this link to learn where that is in the sky.

posted on Sun, 03/02/2008 - 3:07pm

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