October 30, 2007

A Night with the Comet (17P/Holmes)

Our solar system post for Wednesday is an update on an object about 99.9% of all telescopes pointed upward are looking at: Comet 17P/Holmes.

It looks like the comet is still maintaining its current magnitude, and a "fuzziness", often described as nebulous, dust cloud surrounds the yellowish-greenish object. It is east of Mirfak, and nearly as bright, and it is very obviously apparent that it is not a star anymore.
In the following photo, the contrast of the yellowish tint of the comet has been increased digitally to give a more accurate picture of what I saw, rather than what the camera saw. I kept the other stars dim to make its location more apparent.

Here is an unaltered photograph depicting what you can expect through the naked eye.

Comet 17P/Holmes continues to blaze at a very visible 2.8 magnitude and will remain so until it burns its fuel and diminishes in magnitude again. No one knows when the comet will fade, but its very apparent anyone who wants to see 17P/Holmes will have a chance.