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Naked eye comet in Perseus

  1. Nov 4, 2007 #1
    Hey guys. If it is clear out in your part of the World, look to the left of Delta and Alpha Perseus. There is a naked eye comet there. Look for a fuzz ball (it doesn't have a tail) that makes a point in a equallateral triangle with delta and alpha. It is beautiful in a telescope.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 5, 2007 #2

    Garth

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    Its called Comet Holmes and is quite enigmatic.

    It suddenly flared up while going away from the Sun.

    Probably some underground cavern of dirty ices was weakened by the earlier heating around perihelion and catastrophically collapsed releasing a vast amount of icy dust and gas.

    The tail appears to stream directly away from us which is why we only see the spherical coma.

    Garth
     
  4. Nov 5, 2007 #3

    Garth

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    I stand corrected: "The tail appears to stream directly away from us which is why we only see the spherical coma."

    The tail has now begun to show.
    I think you can even see the nucleus in this picture.
    Garth
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2007
  5. Nov 5, 2007 #4

    tony873004

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    I've seen this comet several times now. Last week it looked star-like to the naked eye. But now it looks fuzzy to the naked eye as a result of the coma spreading out. I haven't yet seen a tail. It's overcast tonight, so hopefully tommorow I can get a look.
     
  6. Nov 5, 2007 #5

    Garth

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    It is more or less on the meridian, directly overhead at the UK's latitude, at local midnight. (The comet is near opposition, which is why the tail has been hidden away from us.)

    Garth
     
  7. Nov 5, 2007 #6
    Wow, it's taken this long for a thread on Holmes to be created!?!

    Anyway, spaceweather.com displays wonderful images from all over the world on a daily basis. Some great stuff in there.
     
  8. Nov 5, 2007 #7

    russ_watters

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    I should have paid more attention and tried to get pics last week - it's probably going to be cloudy most of this week.
     
  9. Nov 6, 2007 #8

    Art

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    Why is it green?
     
  10. Nov 6, 2007 #9

    turbo

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    Many comets are green/blue because their halos are composed of ionized cyanogen. Comets are pretty complex bodies, and this generalization should not be given much credence.
     
  11. Nov 6, 2007 #10

    russ_watters

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    Here's my first Holmes. It is an RGB of 10 and 15 second exposures. Color seems a bit flat...

    That APOD picture is crazy - I don't get any tail or outer shell at all in my pics, though with my field of view, I'm not sure I could.
     

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    Last edited: Nov 6, 2007
  12. Nov 6, 2007 #11

    russ_watters

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    I think that bright, offcenter dot in everyone's picture is the nucleus.
     
  13. Nov 6, 2007 #12
    It's pretty impressive even from my suburban-SFBay-area location in binoculars. I'm going to haul out the 7" reflector this weekend and have a look at very low power.
     
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