Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Comet 17P/Holmes brightens 500000 times to reach mag 2.5

Another unexpected surprise for a comet. Comet Holmes has brightened to 2.5 magnitude while over Europe. It is Perseus in the Northeast sky as the constellation rises tonight.

The moon is hindering the process with filmy clouds here in Kansas but I think I see it .
It is on a line from the brightest star in Perseus (called ) and yellow Capella (brightest star in Auriga). It is .25 way down (to Capella ) and to the left.

Catch it as who knows how long this outburst will last.

Space Weather News for Oct. 24, 2007

ERUPTING COMET: Astronomers in Japan and Europe report that Comet 17P/Holmes is undergoing a spectacular eruption. The 17th-magnitude comet has brightened by a factor of five hundred thousand or more during the past 24 hours becoming a naked eye object in the evening sky. This may signify a breakup of the comet's core or a rich vein of ice suddenly exposed to sunlight--no one knows. Look for a yellow 2.5th-magnitude fuzzball in the constellation Perseus after sunset. ("2.5th magnitude" means a little dimmer than the stars of the Big Dipper.) At present the comet looks more like a star than a comet; it does not have a discernable tail, but it might grow one as the outburst continues. Visit for a sky map, photos and updates.

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