Well, I've posted the article about 8P/Tuttle, so now I can discuss comets with a clean conscience.Incidentally — while I'm on the subject — I decided to post the S&T charts in black-on-white format, as PDFs. The way I figure it, color charts are easier to read on the screen, and more attractive in the magazine. But when we post really detailed charts like these, most people are going to print them, so that they can carry them into the field. And on most home printers, charts with dark backgrounds are ugly, smeary, tend to jam the printer, and use lots of expensive ink. So I'm inclined to use traditional bright-on-dark for simple, at-a-glance charts, but black-on-white for detailed charts. What do you think?
But that's not what I set out to write about. Last weekend, I observed Comet Tuttle for the first time under reasonably dark skies. And naturally, I took a look at Comet Holmes too. What's odd is that I was more excited about faint, featureless Tuttle than dazzling Holmes. I'm beginning to take Holmes for granted.
Yes, Holmes is overwhelmingly big and bright, and shows amazing detail too. But it changes so little from one night to the next, either in position or appearance. It's almost as though the sky has acquired a new deep-sky object, a permanent fixture. As far as I can tell, it has dimmed not at all in the last 30 days. At this rate, it's going to remain a naked-eye spectacle for the better part of next year!