Sunday, October 28, 2007

Comet Hunting

The Comet Holmes in the constellation Perseus has suddenly and dramatically grown in brightness literally a millionfold to a 2.5 magnitude, beginning October 24th. What this means is that it is easily visible in the night sky, even from a location with a lot of light pollution, such as mine. Tonight I looked to the NorthEast to see this rare view. It was amazing! It was easily located and looked just like a star, but from my binoculars was distinctly different from a star. I saw it as a fuzzy ball of light with a bright disc in the center.

For observing tips, news, images, and speculation about the reason check out this link: Comet Holmes Stays Bright, Enlarges in the Evening Sky.

I exported an image from my sky mapping program to help you locate it (you may need to click on the image to enlarge it for detail). Look Northeast. Cassiopeia is easily located in the night sky (the big W). Look underneathe for Perseus. Underneathe the brightest star in Perseus is a slightly dimmer star, magnitude 3. To the left, just a little bit fainter than that star is Comet Holmes. If you look at it in binoculars, you can see it as a fuzzy disc.

Get out there and look up for this once in a lifetime event!


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