Friday, November 09, 2007

17P/Holmes - a bright visitor

A comet that circles the sun about every 5 years has suddenly brightened spectacularly. 17P/Holmes is visible as a fuzzy blob in the northern part of the sky. With the moon dark, this weekend should provide wonderful opportunities to see this celestial object. Look for it in the constellation Perseus. 17P/Holmes last brightened back in 1892, the year of its discovery.

See Comet Holmes Tonight by ‘Sky & Telescope’ has sky charts.

Images from around the world:
Comet 17P/Holmes Photo Gallery from

This JPL site has a neat 3-D orbit diagram. Scrolling up and down shows how 17P/Holmes lines up vis-à-vis the ecliptic plane.

17P/Holmes at Wikipedia has an overview and a sky map.

‘Astronomy Magazine’ has a Comet 17P page with sky chart and podcast
[1 Nov 07].

For historic background and more images see 17P/Holmes OUTBURSTS at
Gary W. Kronk's Cometography.

And the astronomy blogs are buzzing:
Astroprof’s Page has several postings. Astroblog includes an engaging animation.