COMET

I have not looked through my telescope in ages.

Many times when I look up at the celestial heavens, I desire to take a view of the Perseids, Venus, Jupiter, and many constellations. I desire to view the Moon, and try and remember where Mare Tranquilitatis is located.
 

Full moon.jpeg

But, usually by the time the Sun has set, I am tired from having come in from work, done things around the house, and put in entrys on my blog.

I look across the room at my telescope, and feel it looking right back at me.

I miss not looking through my telescope. There is nothing like seeing in crystal clarity, the mares of the Moon, nothing like seeing Venus when it is going through its lunar phases, especially at this time of year when Venus is the Evening Star, shining so brightly in the sky.

But, looks like that will change this week.

High up in the Northern sky, is a comet that is unusually bright due to its explosion, with a brightness that rivals the large gas giant Jupiter in high magnitude.

This will be a chance to see this comet with either the naked eye or with a telescope.

Here is the article on Comet Holmes:

Comet Draws Scientific, Amateur Interest

AP Photo

A composite image shows Comet Holmes movement over the last 48 hours on Saturday Oct. 27 2007 on the…

 


AP KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -A comet that has unexpectedly brightened in the past couple of weeks and now is visible to the naked eye is attracting professional and amateur interest.

Paul Lewis, director of astronomy outreach at the University of Tennessee, is drawing students to the roof of Nielsen Physics Building for special viewings of Comet 17P/Holmes.

The comet is exploding and its coma, a cloud of gas and dust illuminated by the sun, has grown to be bigger than the planet Jupiter. The comet lacks the tail usually associated with such celestial bodies but can be seen in the northern sky, in the constellation Perseus, as a fuzzy spot of light about as bright as the stars in the Big Dipper.

“This is truly a celestial surprise,” Lewis said. “Absolutely amazing.”

Until Oct. 23, the comet had been visible to modern astronomers only with a telescope, but that night it suddenly erupted and expanded.

A similar burst in 1892 led to the comet’s discovery by Edwin Holmes.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime event to witness, along the lines of when Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 smashed into Jupiter back in 1994,” Lewis said.

Scientists speculate the comet has exploded because there are sinkholes in its nucleus, giving it a honeycomb-like structure. The collapse exposed comet ice to the sun, which transformed the ice into gas.

“What comets do when they are near the sun is very unpredictable,” Lewis said. “We expect to see a coma cloud and a tail, but this is more like an explosion, and we are seeing the bubble of gas and dust as it expands away from the center of the blast.”

Experts aren’t sure how long the comet’s show will last, but estimate it could be weeks _ if not months. Using a telescope or binoculars help bring the comet’s details into view, they said.

___

Information from: The Knoxville News Sentinel, http://www.knoxnews.com

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slooh.com

Astronomers speculate that Comet 17P/Holmes has suddenly brightened because a collapse caused by sinkholes on its surface has sent a bubble of sunlight-reflecting dust and ice into space.

To see the slide show on Comet 17P/Holmes, go to this link:

http://news.aol.com/story/_a/exploding-comet-visible-to-the-naked-eye/20071103173609990001?ncid=NWS00010000000001

RELATED LINKS:

http://cometography.com/pcomets/017p.html

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I will view the comet with the unaided eye.

Then I will view it through my telescope for even greater visualization.

Comet.

This weekend is looking good.

Time to take out the scope and release it from the oblivion I have allowed it to live in for far too long.

 Comet-Hale-Bopp-29-03-1997 hires adj.jpg

(Photos courtesy of Wikipedia)

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One response to “COMET

  1. Pingback: constellation perseus » Blog Archive » COMET

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