Comet Holmes Beckons Skygazers Worldwide

This article will be continuously updated. At the top are the most recent observing reports. Scroll down to see past entries and reader comments. Feel free to add your own observations in the comments section. Also, check out where to spot Comet Holmes with our northern hemisphere finder charts, or make a personalized map with our Interactive Sky Chart.

In late October amateur astronomers were amazed by the weirdest new object to appear in the sky in memory. And for a couple weeks it was one of the brightest, too. It's still visible with binoculars if you know exactly where to look.

Comet Holmes and Moon on Nov. 21, 2007
On the evening of November 21st, the dimming head of Comet Holmes was about 0.6° wide, just a bit larger than the Moon — as shown in this pair of images shot Gary Seronik at the same scale. Click image for larger view.
S&T: Gary Seronik
On October 24th, periodic Comet Holmes (17P) brightened by nearly a million times overnight. For no apparent reason, it erupted from a very dim magnitude 17 to about magnitude 2½. Within a day its starlike nucleus had expanded into a perfectly round, bright little disk in binoculars and telescopes. It looked like no comet ever seen.

Its startling outburst, however, has a precedent. The comet was also in a major eruption 115 years ago, in November 1892, when English amateur Edwin Holmes was the first to spot it. It reached 4th or 5th magnitude, faded in the following weeks, and then underwent a second eruption 2½ months after the first. (Gary Kronk provides full details in his online history.)

This time Comet Holmes has outdone itself. I've outlined some of the comet's day-by-day evolution below; add your own impressions in the comments section at the end.

And check out (and add to!) the photos submitted by readers worldwide.

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January 4, 2008: S&T's Tony Flanders writes, "I drove last night to my club’s observing site in Westford, near the edge of the Boston suburbs. It’s not a very dark location, and the sky was brighter than usual due to solid snow cover. Nonetheless, Comet Holmes was quite easy to locate naked-eye, appearing only a little more diffuse than the nearby Double Cluster. Through both my 10x30 and 15x70 binoculars, it was a vague ellipse about 60' by 45', slightly brighter toward the major axis, but otherwise featureless.

"I also picked up Comet Tuttle easily with my 10x30 binoculars, and Tuttle appeared quite bold through my 15x70s. It was a nearly circular blob getting continuously brighter toward the center; I could not see the pseudo-nucleus. I managed to see it intermittently without any optical aid, but only because I knew exactly where to look."

December 11th: The bright, glowing blob that many people saw last night — and some mistook for a comet — was a fuel dump from a US Atlas Centaur rocket that had just launched a spy satellite. Details.

The real Comet Holmes continues to enlarge, which means its surface brightness is decreasing and it's more easily wiped out by moonlight or light pollution. But if you have a dark sky, the comet's total brightness has remained constant at 3rd magnitude since mid-November! Light curve (scroll down).

December 8th: Tony Flanders comments, "The comet looked just like the photographs under a reasonably dark sky through my 15×70 binoculars and 4.5-inch f/4 scope. It has a sharply delineated leading edge and a fuzzy trailing edge, and was overwhemingly bright."

November 27th: Did I say a few days ago that Comet Holmes had become invisible to the naked eye? That was then; now it’s back. The difference isn’t in the comet. It’s that the Moon has just left the early-evening sky, allowing a dark view for the first time in nearly two weeks.

Around 7 p.m., I stepped out my front door in Boston’s moderately light-polluted outer suburbs, looked up, and there it was again — a sizeable puffglow just above Alpha Persei (Mirfak). Not only is the moonlight gone, but now the comet is separated enough from Alpha Per that the star’s 2nd-magnitude glare doesn’t get in the way.

Binoculars actually gave a prettier view than my 12.5-inch reflector — framing the big, parabola-shaped comet head (a good 0.7° wide, I estimated) next to the gorgeous starry field of the Alpha Persei Association. Inside the head was the familiar largish glow behind the (invisible) nucleus, and the broad “spine” that’s now extending behind the glow. The 12.5-inch at 75× showed these features hardly any better, so big are they now; the whole thing overfilled the telescope’s view.

Meanwhile, Tony Flanders was observing from a badly light-polluted inner suburb of Boston. He says:

“I got my best naked-eye view of Comet Holmes to date. When the comet first exploded in October, it was extremely bright but nearly stellar. Later on, it got tangled with Alpha Persei and the surrounding group of bright stars. And when the full Moon was nearby, I couldn’t see the comet at all without binoculars.

“But now it’s much easier to spot naked-eye than any deep-sky objects except the Pleiades. It’s big enough so that nobody could mistake it for a star, and it appears significantly brighter than the Andromeda Galaxy or the Double Cluster.

“My most detailed view was through my 70-mm refractor at 20×. The outer coma was pretty vague in the suburban skyglow, but I could trace it to a diameter of roughly 45′. Inside that was a brighter ellipse about 10′ by 25′. The southeast end of the ellipse was quite intense, and it faded out gradually to the northwest.”

November 23rd: Through full moonlight late this evening, Holmes was very large and diffuse through a 10x50 finderscope: just a vague glow in the edge of the Alpha Persei Association. Through the 12.5-inch scope at 75x it was actually harder to see, it was so big. What I was seeing in both cases was the condensation and "spine" that has been showing up in images. No sign of the nucleus.

Enough of moonlight! On Monday the 26th a window of dark sky opens up again between the end of twilight and moonrise (depending on the latitude where you live). This dark window lasts only about a half hour on the 26th (if you're near latitude 40° north) but grows about an hour longer each night after that.

November 22nd: The comet continues to enlarge and fade. It's now moving away from Alpha Persei night by night. The Moon is full on the nights of the 23rd and 24th; this is when the moonlight interference will be worst.

November 18th: No question about it, the comet has lost a lot of its surface brightness in the last few days as it continues to enlarge. In addition it's passing very close to 2nd-magnitude Alpha Persei this week, and the star is bright enough to interfere with the big puffball's visibility. Nor does the increasing moonlight help.

This evening, for the first time, I couldn't see it with the naked eye from my suburban site even with averted vision. Even with binoculars (10x50's) it took a moment to recognize it, as a large, diffuse glow next to Alpha Per and the lovely star-scattering of the Alpha Persei Association.

November 14th: The comet is still as bright as ever, and it has now grown to at least 30 arcminutes — as wide as the Sun or the full Moon. The surface brightness is decreasing as the light spreads out over a larger area, but the comet is still visible through binoculars and to the naked eye from typical suburban locations. For the best possible views, try looking after the Moon has set. That's easy to do, as the comet is well above the horizon all night long at mid-northern latitudes.

Comet Holmes is getting rapidly closer to Mirfak (Alpha Persei). At its closest approach, on November 19th, this star should actually appear to be inside the comet's glow.

November 5th: Still the comet remains as bright as ever to the naked eye, though its average surface brightness continues to drop as it enlarges. As of last night it was 14 arcminutes wide, or nearly ¼° — half the apparent diameter of the Moon. During this dark-of-the-Moon period (which will end around November 15th), seize whatever chance the weather allows to show family, friends, and strangers something memorable. This is how new amateur astronomers are born.

Deep exposures now show lots of blue gas streamers forming a wide fan of a tail, as in this extraordinary image by Michael Jaeger and Gerald Rhemann. The tail is even being seen visually in large amateur scopes. At last, this thing is starting to look like a comet rather than some kind of lens flare, or a planetary nebula whose evolution was speeded up several million times.

Comet Holmes is enlarging steadily. Gary Seronik shot these images at the same scale at 3-day intervals, on Oct. 26, 29, Nov. 1, and Nov 4. He writes, " I used different exposures in all three to keep up with the comet’s diminishing surface brightness. It’s obvious that we’re dealing with a single eruption event here — it’s almost like watching a planetary nebula evolve in time-lapse."
Alan MacRobert
Friday Nov. 2: Many imagers have been recording fine dust trails in the coma, brought out by image processing to heighten contrast and emphasize detail. From Pic du Midi Observatory in the French Pyrenees, Francois Colas writes: "Here is an animation on two days showing the evolution of dust stream in the inner coma. Here you can see details moving, so there are real. It is clear that all the trails are coming from pieces of the comet ejected at the begining the the bigger event on October 24th."

Wednesday, Oct. 31: If anything, the comet appeared a bit brighter last night: magnitude 2.6 or 2.7 by my naked-eye estimate. As readers have noted, when comparing a hazy comet to pinpoint stars your magnitude estimate will depend on the darkness of your sky. I'm looking through suburban light pollution, which hides some of the light from the outer coma but doesn't affect stars as much. Some people with good dark skies are reporting Holmes at magnitudes 2.1 to 2.4.

Both the round disk of the coma and the bright inner patch offset to the southwest continue to enlarge. But some telesope users are reporting that the nucleus is looking smaller again, perhaps as material clears out from around it.

The coma diameter last night was 10 arcminutes. Its southwest edge continues to be a little vaguer than the northeast edge, and the nucleus remains a little offset from the center toward the northeast.

Wednesday, Oct. 31: No change in brightness last night — I still get magnitude 2.8 — though magnitude estimates are getting harder now because the comet is much larger and fuzzier than Alpha and Delta Persei. (Though in my case, I can blur them to equal sizes just by taking off my glasses.) In binoculars and telescopes the comet is losing its original sharp-edged disk appearance. It's starting to look more like how a small comet is supposed to look, with a bright inner coma and a dimmer outer coma — the traditional clump-of-cotton appearance. The inner coma is still offset to the southwest, getting larger and also more prominent by comparison to the rest. The nucleus near center is getting fuzzier. All still yellow.

Last night Clay Sherrod measured the coma as 545 arcseconds (9.1 arcminutes) wide.

Tuesday, Oct. 30: Still no fading last night. Which makes sense; the dust isn't going to disappear, and even if no more is being produced, what's there now will continue to reflect the same total amount of sunlight even as its surface brightness dims as it spreads. Only when the surface brightness of the coma (or parts of it) becomes comparable to the surface brightness of the sky will the comet become harder to see. And we're about to enter two weeks of moonless dark evenings.

As for now, the naked-eye disk appearance is only making the comet more obvious and easier to spot. It's not like any old star any more! Why not set up your scope in front of the house on Halloween evening for an impromptu star party?

Tony Hoffman of New York City posted to the CometChasing mailing list, "The past two nights I've had the pleasure of observing Comet Holmes witih the naked eye from my Queens neighborhood (one of only 3 comets I've observed with the naked eye from NYC in close to 30 years of living here, the other two being Hale-Bopp and Hyakutake)."

Last night the bright coma was about 8 arcminutes wide, according to a measurement by Clay Sherrod. Its diameter has been growing by 1.3 arcminutes per day. At Paris Observatory, F. Colas and J. Lecacheux that the bright coma has been expanding at a constant rate of 575 meters per second from the nucleus.

Monday, Oct. 29: Last night the comet was very plainly a little disk to the naked eye rather than a star. Definitely a more interesting naked-eye view now! No change in brightness in the last 24 hours. In fact, the average of all good magnitude estimates has basically stayed flat since the outburst. (Light curve.)

Finally, the bright round disk is starting to show some asymmetry. In the 12.5-inch scope at 75x, the disk's northeast edge — the side away from the bright fan near the nucleus — is looking more compressed and sharp-edged than the southwest edge, which is a bit vaguer. The slightly darker 'moat' inside the disk's edge is better defined on the northeast side too.

The fan southwest of the nucleus seems more diffuse now. The nucleus itself is fuzzier too, no longer so starlike. This was easy to judge tonight because an actual orange star, roughly as bright as the nucleus, was shining right through the disk!

Comet Holmes on the night of Oct. 27–28, 2007
All of the comet's features that are visible in the eyepiece of a telescope are captured in this image by Sean Walker. The bright yellow-white coma is dust lit by sunlight; the green halo is fluorescing gas (the green emission is mainly from C2 and CN molecules). Walker used a 108-mm f/4 Faworski astrograph and a Canon 10D camera. This image is a stack of ten 30-second exposures and (to bring out the nucleus) ten 6-second exposures.
S&T: Sean Walker
Even in the waning-gibbous moonlight, the dim, diffuse, outermost glow of gas was a little more than twice the diameter of the bright disk of dust. All this was around 12:25 a.m. EDT (4:25 UT) October 29th, right after the Sox won the World Series. I'm sure I wasn't the only one running back and forth between the telescope and the baseball game — just like the last time the Sox won the Series, in 2004 in the middle of a total lunar eclipse.

Sunday, Oct. 28: By last night the comet had enlarged to 6.3 arcminutes across, as measured by Sherrod on his CCD images. "It's beginning to look a bit nonstellar to the naked eye," writes Alan MacRobert. "Not as crisp and sparkly as Alpha and Delta Persei."

Within a few more days the nonstellar appearance ought to be obvious, making this object more of an attraction for the non-astronomical public. Hold a star party, and alert your local news media!

Note faint, wide tail toward lower right
On the night of October 28–29, Sean Walker took a deep exposure that shows hints of a wide tail (to the lower right here). He used a 108mm f/4 Faworski Astrograph for 63 minutes of exposures with an ST-10XE CCD camera. Click image for larger view.
S&T: Sean Walker
"When I first saw it, I thought it looked like a frosted incandescent light
bulb on a dimmer switch," commented Mike Foreman of Carrollton, Texas, on the Comets Mailing List.

Using Alpha and Delta Per as comparisons (magnitudes 1.9 and 3.0), I estimated the comet to be magnitude 2.8, just a trace fainter (more similar to Delta) than two nights ago. In stabilized 10x50 binoculars it looked just the same as before only bigger, with all its details easier to see.

And is Comet Holmes starting to grow a tail? Several visual observers and imagers report the subtlest traces of one. For instance, at right is a deep image by S&T's Sean Walker on Sunday night.

Comet Holmes at October 27.31 UT
It's enlarging daily. P. Clay Sherrod took this CCD image at 9:55 UT October 27th, using a 16-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope at f/3 for a 5-second RGB composite exposure.
P. Clay Sherrod
Saturday, Oct. 27: Last night the comet was as bright as ever; various people's estimates averaged magnitude 2.5 early in the night (time zones of the Americas). Its overall form in a telescope has not changed, just enlarged a lot (animation by Wah). Writes P. Clay Sherrod, who took the image at right: "Even more incredible each night. The comet now measures 255 arcseconds across (via CCD
direct measure). On October 25, similar measures of the coma revealed diameter of approximately 121 arcseconds." View the comparison.

Despite moonlight and smoke from wildfires near Los Angeles, Anthony Cook captured the comet at the prime focus of Griffith Observatory's 12-inch Zeiss refractor at 8:30 UT on October 25th. This frame, cropped to 4 arcminutes wide, shows the comet's nucleus slightly off-center in the larger coma. In longer exposures the coma had a well-defined edge, allowing Cook to measure its growth rate. He got a diameter of 86 arcseconds at 7:46 UT, then 89 arcseconds an hour later.
Griffith Observatory / Anthony Cook
Friday, Oct. 26: Last night I wrote in my logbook: "Omigod. Through thin clouds lit by the full Moon I had to guess where Perseus was, but I swept around with 10x50 binoculars from my front step, and wham, there was the comet! It's sure isn't starlike now, at least not in the 10x binocs (with homemade image stabilization). It's a very sizable bright fuzz spot, perfectly round, with a large, brilliant, hazy nucleus and a very sharp edge to the circular coma. It's yellow with just a hint of green.

"When the clouds finally cleared and I could see it with the naked eye, it was still starlike to my vision. Magnitude 2.7, based on Alpha Persei being mag. 1.9 and Delta Persei mag. 3.0. You just look up and there it is. It's the brightest 'star' in Perseus after Alpha Per and Algol."

Later that night, I checked it out again: "Used the 12.5-inch reflector at 75x, 110x, and 180x. A brilliant, starlike, white nucleus is dead center in the perfectly round coma. What looked like the nucleus in the binoculars is an inner coma or broad fan offset from the nucleus toward the southwest. At these magnifications the bright round disk is no longer perfectly sharp-edged, but still pretty nearly so. It also has a slight but definite ring appearance, as if some of the light is coming from a hollow, spherical, glowing shell. Farther out beyond this is a much dimmer round glow with about twice the diameter of the bright disk. Only out this far does the brilliant skylight of the perigean full Moon in this part of the sky begin to matter. This was at 1 a.m. EDT (5:00 UT) October 26th with the comet (and Moon) near the zenith. Still magnitude 2.7 naked-eye."

This 12-arcminute-wide frame from Arkansas Sky Observatory shows the comet as a brilliant, near-circular disk on the morning of October 25th. Clay Sherrod used a 0.4-meter (16-inch) Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope at f/3.
Clay Sherrod / ASO
Thursday, Oct. 25: "This object is amazing!" posted Brian Cudnik of Houston, Texas, on the Yahoo CometChasing group after coming in from his telescope on the evening of the 24th. "I have just observed it with an 8-inch f/10 Cassegrain, boosting the power up to 163x then to 508x.... The bright inner coma seems displaced off-center toward position angle 315°. The inner coma opens up into a fan toward position angle 300°, and I have noticed one ripple, akin to the hoods/ripples seen in Comet Hale-Bopp ten years ago. The coma is uniform in brightness, aside from this fan-shape material emanating from the central condensation, and has a well-defined edge." He measured the coma to be 69 arcseconds wide using using the drift method. "The entire object has a nice yellow-white color; no sign of any tail. The apparent magnitude is +2.8 (estimated using Alpha Per at +1.9 and the other two bright stars adjacent to it at +3.0 each) and has remained rather steady all evening."

Posted Dan Laszlo of Fort Collins, Colorado: "In an 18-inch Newtonian at 90x, the yellow orb is like a bright spherical planetary nebula. Diameter of the bright portion is about equal to the lunar crater Tycho, so magnification helps. I can detect a very faint spherical outer envelope, about equal in radius to the diameter of the bright portion, tough with the moonlight."

From Florian Boyd, Palm Springs, California: "I think this is about the most amazing thing I've ever seen in the sky!"

The Outburst. The first person to notice something happening, according to IAU Circular 8886 (issued October 24th by the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams) was A. Henriquez Santana at Tenerife, Canary Islands, shortly after midnight on the morning of the 24th local time. The comet was then about 8th magnitude, but within minutes Ramon Naves and colleagues in Barcelona, Spain, caught it at magnitude 7.3.

Internet discussion groups came alive with the news. "To my amazement, 17P had brightened to naked-eye visibility," exclaimed Bob King when he spotted Comet Holmes shortly before dawn in Duluth, Minnesota. "What a sight!" he posted to the Comets Mailing List. Alan Hale of Cloudcroft, New Mexico, concurred. To Hale (well-known codiscoverer of Comet Hale-Bopp) it appeared essentially starlike in a telescope until he switched to high power.

Things only got better. As Earth continued to turn, nightfall arrived in Japan. "It is visible with naked eyes in a large city!" posted Seiichi Yoshida, who observed the comet from beside Tsurumi River in Yokohama. By 17:15 Universal Time he was describing Comet Holmes as magnitude 2.8.

Since then the comet has remained constant at just about that total brightness — shining as the third-brightest "star" in Perseus — while enlarging substantially. It's still a round disk with a bright, offset core in binoculars and telescopes.

Comet expert Gary Kronk expects Holmes to remain bright and continue enlarging in the coming days, as it makes its way slowly westward across Perseus. Its position on October 30th was 3h 48m, +50.4°; by November 11th it will have moved only a little, to 3h 34m, +50.6° (0hUT). (Ephemeris of its future motion.) On November 19–20 the comet will pass closely by Alpha Persei (by 1/3°). For skywatchers in the Northern Hemisphere, Perseus is visible all night around this time of year. The comet will stay in Perseus all the way into next March.

Future prospects. The comet is likely to stay visible to the naked eye until at least mid-November, when evening moonlight returns. The yellow color is dust reflecting sunlight, as confirmed by spectra. Dust is what keeps a comet bright, and it hangs around — as opposed to gas (comet gas is green and blue), which blows away more quickly in the solar wind.

The gas tail will probably remain short and wide, due to our perspective on it. The tail is pointing nearly away from us in space — we're looking down its length — since the comet is nearly on the opposite side of Earth from the Sun. From the comet's viewpoint, the Earth and Sun are only 15° apart, and this "phase angle" will stay small for many months. Which means we'll keep looking down the tail.

176 thoughts on “Comet Holmes Beckons Skygazers Worldwide

  1. Duncan Parks

    This one is really rewarding in the telescope, even in urban skyglow. At 72x, it showed a broad, round coma, with a notably bright streak smearing out from a very bright nucleus. Seen from Portland, OR, 10/25, 9:15 pm PDT, 10-inch Dob. We’re really lucky to have a clearish night here in October!

  2. David Knisely

    Well, I got a better look in my Nexstar 9.25 (0600 UT on Oct. 25th). The comet has a very faint outer halo perhaps four or maybe five arc minutes in diameter. Inside this is a *brilliant* inner coma around 1.5 arc minutes in diameter with very well-defined edges. At 297x, the core showed a small star-like point when the seeing settled with a diffuse conical fan-like brightening flowing away from the nuclear condensation roughly in the anti-solar direction. The edge of the coma seems to show a somewhat shell-like feature, as if the outburst generated a bit of a shock front. The comet is very similar in brightness to Algol (very slightly fainter), so it is probably around magnitude 2.3 to 2.5 or so. I hope it hangs in there for a while!

  3. Indigo_Sunrise

    Is it known why the comet has brightened so much? I don’t know much about comets, asteroids, etc., but is it because of the mineral or elemental make-up of the comet causing it to brighten as it comes in close proximity to the sun?

    I’m hoping it clears up here at my location (MD), so that I can have a chance to view it before it’s gone. Which brings me to another question: how long is Comet Holmes expected to be visible?

  4. Todd Vance

    gee–can you guys do something to make sure the comet is still there when the clouds clear and I can actually look? If not, I have to ask The Weather Channel to move the clouds away a little faster :)

    All this time, no rain, and now that there’s a comet, the Washington, DC area is all clouded over and it rains like in a rainforest or something.

  5. Bryan Seigneur

    IANAAstronomer, or planetologist. However, from reading pop journals, I get the idea that we don’t know a lot about the make up or behavior of comets.

    One fact is that their orbits move them between extremes. They go from solar altitudes that are near absolute 0 (0K), where methane and many other compounds we think of as gaseous are slowed down and even crystalized, and they swing all the way down to the inner solar system, where things are as we know them, or even hotter.

    This can understandably wreak havoc on a poor little planetoid. I assume this havoc of heating, evaporation, an d shifting is seen in the cometary tail. I think it would not be foolish to imagine that any small object like Pluto et al would do similar things if its orbit were magically made wildly eccentric like that of a comets. I’d say the object would then actually be a comet for all intents.

    Another fact is that comets change. Think about all the matter that is blown away from a comet, or violently shifted, during its foray into the inner solar system. Then, as it leaves the warm bosom of the sun, things fall back down and freeze solid, but not *at all* necessarily in the same place. If it comes through one time and does one thing, it may do something totally different the next time.

    So, we were just lucky enough to spot a comet during a particularly violent warming event.

  6. Garret Moore

    I’m an astronomical and science illustrator and have illustrated many comets based on speculative science. In the 80’s I did my first multiple comet illustration after observing many single nuclei and speculating this could happen. Shoemaker-Levy was the first recorded, so I was ecstatic. So, thinking about this for some time now.

    I am speculating that the comet could be breaking up and will slowly spread as it is influenced by planetary or solar gravitational. The brightening could be the result of more surface area exposed in the break up. Depending on how it fractioned and warming it could multiply its output my many multiples. Could this be another Shoemaker-Levy? I will go to the software (SNP)to see its track and estimate it’s probable effects. I’ll be looking to reports here of any observed separation or displacement of the nuclei or dramatic shape changes in the coma.

    I will observe tonight, but without a collimator my 17″ Dob will be close to useless. Especially in city sky’s

  7. Kent Blackwell

    When I returned home from the movies on Wednesday night, October 24 it was raining. Suddenly the sky temporarily cleared long enough for me to set up my 80mm and 100mm refracting telescope to view the outburst of Comet 17P Holmes from my home in light-polluted Virginia Beach, VA. At 30x in the 80mm the comet closely resembled the reddish colored planetary nebula IC 418 in Lepus. The red color vanished at higher power, nor did it show in the 100mm telescope, although that instrument revealed more inner detail.

    As I was connecting A/C power to the motor-driven equatorial mount of the 100mm the rain returned so I had to drag everything quickly back into the garage.

    An hour later the skies cleared long enough for me to set up my 10″ f/4.7 Dobsonian. Wow! At 175x Comet 17P Holmes resembled the large planetary nebula IC 1535 (Cleopatra’s Eye) in Eridanus, only much brighter! The core was exceedingly bright and slightly elongated towards the south.

    What a great surprise! What a great comet! Don’t miss it.

    Kent Blackwell
    Virginia Beach, VA

  8. Marshall Eubanks

    I would suspect that the most likely reason for the outburst was that it was hit by a meteor. It will be interesting to see if it was disrupted.

    Let’s do a back of the envelope sanity check. This looks like considerably more material than came from the “Deep Impact” impactor, which left a 100 meter crater. If Comet Holmes is about the same size as the comets wit known sizes, the exposed surface area is about 100 square km. Assume that the Martian cratering rates apply; there are 200 similar comets, and each is obseved for something between a few months and many years. That is maybe as much as 100,000 years of comet observations and, using the standard Martian crater model at

    http://www.psi.edu/projects/mgs/cratering2.html

    you can see that the expected crater size in that period for 100 square km is about 30-50 meters (i.e., smaller than the Deep Impact crater). There is thus roughly a 1% chance of forming a 100 meter diameter crater in our observation history, and a pretty small chance of a much larger crater being formed in any comet observed in modern times.

    So, I conclude that it is unlikely that this is is due to a meteor impact, unless there is something wrong with my BOE calculations

  9. LOUIS wELKE

    ON 10-25-07 AT 8: 30 PM I began observing Comet Holmes with my Meade 8′ LX90 USING a 26 MM 2″ eyepiece and tracking the comet just above the star Capella and a little to the south.
    I then tried a 2″ 16.5mm eyepiece and then went to a 5mm 1.25 eyepiece at 400X it was huge but it had lost resolution so I went back to a 26mm 2″ eyepiece that produced 77X.
    This is a beautiful comet to watch.

    Lou Welke

  10. Haldun I. Menali

    Together with my wife, we have just observed 17P from Quincy, MA. Under moderate light polluted skies, and in spite of strong moonlight, the comet was conspicuous and an awesome sight with naked eye! I estimated its magnitude around 2.5, by comparing to Mirfak and delta Persei. It looked like an out of focus very bright star. Although I couldn’t detect any tail through 15×70 binoculars, my wife bets that she could see a very small tail. Always expect the unexpected from these hairy visitors :o). That was my 20th comet sighting since 1985. Clear skies and happy observing to you all…

  11. michael evans

    reporting from Flagstaff AZ at about 9:30pm Mtn Time with great seeing and dark skies (except for the full moon).

    Comet Holmes is amazing. Picked it out with 10×50 binoculars right away, looked like a large planetary nebula.
    With my 8″ SCT at 150x, it was huge, about the size of M13.
    The main disk is evenly spread and colored (no gaps or clumps). Very bright central “dot” with fan-shaped brightening to the bottom-left.

    Am I the only one that wonders if maybe we are looking through the head or tail of the comet? Looking “dead-on” if you will? That might explain the bright circular coma and central dot.

    Hopefully this comet will stick around til Halloween – the trick or treaters in my area would love to see it.

  12. Allen Clegg

    We found it easily with Binoculars but not with the naked eye.
    It was round and white and we could see the head of the comet with the tail swirling around it. Reminded us of a hurricane eye from a satelite picture. It appeared to be coming directly at us.

  13. Ernie Dunbar

    I observed this tonight in my 250mm newtonian reflector. The coma was very large, I would estimate three to four times larger than the ring nebula. It was very easy to detect as a comet in my 10×50 viewfinder thanks to its size and brightness. Under magnification (even as low as 50x), a very obvious dark inner ring was visible about 1/3 of the way in from the outside edge.

    I also got the opportunity to show this off to about half a dozen of my neighbours in my townhouse complex. :D

  14. John K

    On 10/25/07 11:30PM EDT from Troy Mich., strong full moon, eventually it was easy to see once you knew what to look for. Used Meade LXD75 8in. SNT with various eyepieces. With only a 26 mm eyepiece it at first looks like a star. With higher magnification it becomes obvious. The dust halo looks like it has a moderately well defined outer limit. It is tempting to refocus and hard to know when you are in focus. After viewing it with higher and higher magnification I tried 9X binoculars and was surprized to identify it fairly quickly, including the halo. Then with naked eye it was also fairly easy, though the halo was not obvious. The tail if there is one must be pointed away from the earth.
    John Kriegel

  15. Matthew Ota

    I viewed/imaged the comet last night from Gardena, California. It was plainly visible in my 10 inch Meade LX250GPS Schmidt Cassegran telescope. So I hooked up my Canon Powershot A620 camera to a scopetronix 40mm EP projection adapter and took over 50 images. My photos show the comet’s color as light red, but that is due to the smoke layer in the air over Los Angeles due to the fires.

    I will go out again tonight to see if it has gotten any brightrer. It is amazing how bright it is even from the city with the moon out. Thank God I have a goto telescope, and TheSky software to help me point the way….

  16. Watson Goldsmith

    Observing the chart of the comet’s past and future positions, it is clear that its orbit is not a simple elipse in a flat plane. What is causing the spiral loop in its path, and where is the sun in relation to the chart projection?

  17. Marshall Eubanks

    I would suspect that the most likely reason for the outburst was that it was hit by a meteor. It will be interesting to see if it was disrupted.

    Let’s do a back of the envelope sanity check. This looks like considerably more material than came from the “Deep Impact” impactor, which left a 100 meter crater. If Comet Holmes is about the same size as the comets wit known sizes, the exposed surface area is about 100 square km. Assume that the Martian cratering rates apply; there are 200 similar comets, and each is obseved for something between a few months and many years. That is maybe as much as 100,000 years of comet observations and, using the standard Martian crater model at

    http://www.psi.edu/projects/mgs/cratering2.html

    you can see that the expected crater size in that period for 100 square km is about 30-50 meters (i.e., smaller than the Deep Impact crater). There is thus roughly a 1% chance of forming a 100 meter diameter crater in our observation history, and a pretty small chance of a much larger crater being formed in any comet observed in modern times.

    So, I conclude that it is unlikely that this is is due to a meteor impact, unless there is something wrong with my BOE calculations

  18. Mitchell Diers

    The last few days I’ve been reading about this comet on the web, and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. So, last night I went outside with my 10×50 binoculars and found it no time. I expected it to be really faint and barely visible in binoculars. Wow! I’ve seen comets before in my 10″ dobsonian but this was very cool. It looked like a very bright, dense nebula. Perhaps it will brighten even more in the nights to come! Too bad the full moon is out.

  19. Stephen Opgenorth

    Wow! I heard about this while I was on a business trip to Palm Springs and tried to view it On the 25th, with the 8×30 binoculars I had with me. Unfortunately, smoke from the Southern California fires was to dense to let me see it. Got home to the Phoenix area today and set up my 6″ f8.7 (built by my great uncle in the late 50’s or early 60’s, recently rebuilt by me) at around 2050 MST. First viewing at 66x showed a bright reasonably sharp disk with a brighter inner region approximately 1/4 to 1/3 the diameter of the whole. Using a 2x barlow to get 132x showed a slightly soft edged disk with the same brighter inner area and, in moments of stable seeing, using averted vision I could just make out a star like core slightly off center. Next I tried to view at 295x (Mead 9mm MA with 2x barlow) but without a bright star in the field I couldn’t seem to get critical focus with this rather marginal eyepiece. The outer coma did nearly fill the field of view, but I had no luck observing the core with this combo. All in all an amazing object and I look forward to watching it develop over the next several days!

  20. Daryl Rybotycki

    This Comet has a history of brightening suddenly, other Comets do not. The odds of one single Comet being the only one to brighten suddenly twice due to impacts, especially when no other Comet in recorded history have a record of doing so is – well, Astronomical. (Sorry, I had to!)

  21. Ken Yager

    Friday 11:00pmET 10-25-07 through Saturday 2:00amET 10-26-07. Observations made naked eye, 50mm spotting telescope, and with a Meade LX-50 10″ Scmidt Cassegrain using 26mm 1.25″ eyepiece. Also, made several exposures with 35mm camera, SONY digital camera, and JVC miniDV camera. I’ll post the photos/scrren grabs as soon as I have time to process them.

    Naked eye the comet was very easy to see despite the proximty of the Moon and light cirrus clouds. In the finder scope it reminded me of M13 quite a bit, I can see why Messier compiled his list. In the 10″ SCT the comet looked great, near identical view of many of the photos in recent days. A prominent blue-green coma with a yellow-white and slightly brighter fan shaped region emanating from a very defined white starlike nucleus. I observed as long as possibly until the weather prohibited further viewing. Temperatures dropped and a heavy fog moved in coating my telescope with dew as is common this time of year in the Appalachian mountains. I had to pack up for the night. But, it was well worth braving the cold damp night to see this comet.

  22. NS

    Saw it from here in Hawaii (near Honolulu) the second I looked for it with 8X42 binoculars. Immediately visible despite the full moon. I could see it with the naked eye once I knew where to look. Through the binoculars it has a bright central area with a fainter halo around it.

  23. NS

    Through my Orion 4.5 inch scope at about 36X, the bright area looked more compressed and slightly off-center (as people with better equipment have described above).

  24. Bryan Seigneur

    I have to minimize the impact theory chances. We can say that there’s been a collision of 2 <1000km objects, which does happen on planetary timescales. Or we can imagine that in an object which is tortuously recreated every orbit, there was a subterranean pocket or crack full of something that changed state, maybe because some channel opened up to conduct the heat in some way, and *groan* *BOOM*, a huge dust sphere envelopes the object. Then again, this is past Mars, so the water in the crust is certainly not agitated yet. I guess the impact theory is as good as any…

  25. Stephen Opgenorth

    0320MST update. With the comet now near the zenith, the central core is quite distinct at 66x and, interestingly, the edge of the disk seems slightly softer. Is it possible that the material of the coma is diffusing rapidly enough to account for this softening over a 6 1/2 hour time span? Or, is it more likely the change in observing conditions?

  26. Jorge Mota Almeida

    WOW! I’m just amazed with this celestial beauty! Simply outstanding. It looks to me as a glowing planetary nebulae with greenish hues. And an “aurora” appearance on comet. At 56x and in a 6º field it is unmistakable to find this comet with an inverse configuration of “stars”. I advice for those who didn´t see yet the comet, to get out and appreciate the almost 2nd magnitude comet!

    Jorge Almeida
    Viseu – PORTUGAL

  27. Jorge Mota Almeida

    to me it looks almost a perfect circle.
    This comet had another burst before… it seems that is typical for this 17/P comet. ;) Asteroid collision is not easy to happens, the space is so big and almost (virtually) empty. (actually there is no an vacuum.)

  28. Marshall Eubanks

    I would suspect that the most likely reason for the outburst was that it was hit by a meteor. It will be interesting to see if it was disrupted.

    Let’s do a back of the envelope sanity check. This looks like considerably more material than came from the “Deep Impact” impactor, which left a 100 meter crater. If Comet Holmes is about the same size as the comets wit known sizes, the exposed surface area is about 100 square km. Assume that the Martian cratering rates apply; there are 200 similar comets, and each is obseved for something between a few months and many years. That is maybe as much as 100,000 years of comet observations and, using the standard Martian crater model at

    http://www.psi.edu/projects/mgs/cratering2.html

    you can see that the expected crater size in that period for 100 square km is about 30-50 meters (i.e., smaller than the Deep Impact crater). There is thus roughly a 1% chance of forming a 100 meter diameter crater in our observation history, and a pretty small chance of a much larger crater being formed in any comet observed in modern times.

    So, I conclude that it is unlikely that this is is due to a meteor impact, unless there is something wrong with my BOE calculations

  29. Lee Scarborough

    11pm CDT 10-27-07 40 miles north of Dallas. Comet Holmes still looks fantastic, even with a bright moon. I swear I can sometimes see a faint and diffuse tail in my 8 inch Dob extending out from the disk at 2 oclock. Undoubtedly one of the most impressive sights I have ever seen through the eye piece!

  30. John Meltzer

    Went out last night the 27th to see if I could spot the comet. I started at 10:30 central time. It took me awhile to spot it with the moon bieng so full still. What a site. With my 15x70s there was a distinct coma and a diffuse outer shell. A fantastic site. I watched till midnight. Go out and take a look. John

  31. Bob Loeffler

    There is another possible reason for the brightening: Maybe there is a star behind the comet and the star has gone supernova. Has anyone checked into this possibility? I know it’s a long shot, but possible. I don’t have a star chart handy so I don’t know if there is another star in that location, but if there was and it exploded, it could “drown out” the light from the comet. Of course, maybe a supernova would have a different color than what we are seeing in photos, so my idea could be totally stupid. Maybe an observatory could check for anamolies such as gamma radiation or whatever would be indicative of a supernova.

    Thanks for not laughing. :-)

    Regards,

    Bob

  32. matthew burmeister

    i looked thru my 90mm Refactor and all i could say is “WOW” i have never seen somthing like this ever… even with the bright moon and lots of skyglow from portland you still can see it. this is a awsome object for any size scope!

    matthew burmeister
    13
    vancouver washington

  33. Bill R. Smith

    Comet Holmes is simply amazing! At 06:30UT 28OCT2007, comet easy non stellar fuzzy disc naked eye. Est Mag at +2.1 – nearly as bright as Polaris.
    Remember Temple 1 and Deep Impact? Many watched to see if it would brighten when the 800 pound impactor hit – not much to see. For Holmes to brighten neraly a million fold, it must have REALLY been smacked! I think it may have been. Since the comet is so far from the sun, it would seem hard to have a crack open up and put out so much dust. Any thoughts on an impact?
    Coma larger tonight – and the bright coma center seems off to one side (seen in 13 inch Dob at 200 power). I also saw a hint of a “shadow” of the central condensation. Anyone else see this? Bill Smith – Ukiah, CA

  34. David Deamer

    Why the yellowish tint? My research involves studies of organic compounds extracted from meteorites such as the Murchison, which contains 2 percent of its mass as complex polycyclic aromatic (PAH) polymer. This material is yellow after extraction and is strongly fluorescent, emitting 450 – 550 nm wavelengths when excited by UV light. Estimates of the organic content of comets range up to 10 percent of their mass. If the Holmes color is from its organic content, its spectrum should resemble that of PAH polymer, perhaps with a fluorescent component mixed in.

  35. Don Spain

    Observed the comet between clouds the evening of 10/27/07 with naked eye, 10×50 binoculars and a 100mm f/6 achromae at 24x and 60X A pale yellow in color and very bright at about magnitude 2. At 60X I barely suspected that there were 2 nuclei. I took an image with an old LPI which seems to comfirm the 2 nuclei. Here is a link to that photo on my gallery on the Louisville Astronical Society site.

    http://gallery.louisville-astro.org/albumDonSpain/Holmes_1

    Once on the side check out the next two images made from this photo. I converted the 2nd to a negative which shows the nuclei a little better and the 3rd image is an extreme unsharp masking to show them even more.

  36. Duncan Parks

    Wow – Sean Walker’s image just posted is by far the best I’ve seen of Holmes yet. Is the faint green coma the gas, and the brighter yellow inner coma the dust? Beautiful.

  37. Marcus Armitage

    Hi Guys
    Just been to the Observatory (Sunday 28th October – 6pm GMT) where I met with Gain who was taking photos of Comet Holmes. I have to tell you guys, YOU MUST LOOK AT THIS COMET!
    It is the strangest comet I have ever seen!
    Through the wide-field eyepiece, it looks like a giant planetary nebula – similar to something like the Blue Snowball, but green instead!! There’s no hint of a tail, but there is an odd three-tiered structure to the comet – a bright outer halo surrounding a concentric dark annulus and then a brighter inner portion which appears not to be concentric with the bright and obvious nucleus. It is bright!! If you get chance. haul your ‘scopes outside and have a look.

  38. Jerry

    Watching Holmes with my 10 inch Dobsonian at 48X at about 7:30 EDT tonight, I thought it had two distinct star-like nuclei, which I wasn’t expecting. I thought I might be mistaken, but tried two other eyepieces (another 48 and a 100) and it still looked binary to me.

  39. David C. Finch

    Has the comet split into two or three pieces??? I just took a CCD image of it and different from last night, it appeared to have two or three bright pieces. I initially thought that it may be “on top of” a bright star, but there are no bright stars near the comet.

  40. David C. Finch

    Has the comet split into two or three pieces??? I just took a CCD image of it and different from last night, it appeared to have two or three bright pieces. I initially thought that it may be “on top of” a bright star, but there are no bright stars near the comet.

  41. David C. Finch

    I have definitely confirmed that Comet Holmes has split into AT LEAST three pieces. There are three nucleii, two of similar brightnes and the third at least two magnitudes dimmer The dimmer of the three is betwen the two brighter nuclei, closer to the one to the north and east of them.

  42. Chris Mastrangelo

    In the picture posted yeterday by Gark Kronk and others, the coma surrounding the nucleus appears elongated/ Tonight observing from my backyard at 7:55 pm EDT with a 4 inch refractor, I could swear I saw two distinct starlike nuclei. It is posible that one of the points was a background star, and if so, that is what I would like other astronomers to confirm.

    7:55 PM EDT (O:55 UT) Sunday Oct 28, 2007
    Location: Northern Viriginia, inside the DC Beltway
    Comet brightness almost the same as last night, a little fainter than Alpha Persei, but brighter than Delta Persei.

  43. David C. Finch

    In subsequent CCD photographs of Comet Holmes, the third (dimmest)nucleii is moving further away from the two brightest nucleii. If anyone would like to discuss this with me I can be reached at df121819@aol.com (I am NOT constantly at my computer)or by phone at (508)248-1028.

    It would appear to me that the brightening and the “split” of the nucleii was caused by a collision of Comet Holmes with another object and that perhaps one of the three nucleii could be that object. Pure conjecture at this point

  44. Bob Oldham

    Observing tonight with my C-5 and a 25mm Plossl I could clearly see two equal-brightness points of light at the center of the coma. I estimate that their separation might be about equal to Jupiter’s diameter in that same eyepiece. Unless the comet is passing in front of a star of the same magnitude as the nucleus, I’d say the nucleus has split. It would seem that this indicates a collision with something.

    By comparing the comet with the appearance of M31 in my 11×80 binoculars I would say its appearance is at least as large as the length of M31 and it is considerably brighter.

  45. Randy Gibbs

    I have also observed the double points of light in the coma using my Meade 125-ETX and a 12.5mm eye piece here in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. Definitive. The collision concept certainly is getting excellent backing with this. As I have learned, what is most likely is most likely!

  46. Ron White

    Observing centralConecticut 10-28-07 8:40 Eastern Comet Holmes From my light poluted drivawy. 20″ Newtonian at 80X & 300x ===2 nucleus clearly visable mag is aprox 2.9, dia = aprox 0-3′– 2 nucleus small bright aprox 0-0’25” apart.

  47. Joe Borrello

    Looking at it tonight, 10/28 2100 EDT (10/29 0100 UCT), from Michigan, it looks like it has two pseudonuclei. Is it passing in front of a prominent star? I cannot stay up late enough to watch for relative motion.

  48. Marc T

    Truly an interesting sight. I see it in the northeast over Toronto and a, wondering what the 2 or three starlike points are in the center. I have a simple 8 inch dobsonian. I’ll keep a look out.

  49. David C. Finch

    Unfortunately the two or three “nucleii” are actually the nucleus and two stars, an 8th mag and a 10th mag star. The 8th mag star is GSC 3334:738.

    So much for all of the split nuclei stuff.

    David C. Finch

  50. Graham Mounsey

    Observing tonight 28 October 2007 at 01:00Z here in Holywood, N. Ireland, I can clearly see that this comet now has two nuclei of apparently equal brightness.

    I have a couple of poor photos taken with my Meade ETX125 and a compact digital camera.

    (Repeat posting as I believe the first failed to send).

  51. Tom

    Its pretty obvious to me that it was an impact of some sort. I havent seen Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck or Billy Bob lately. And that story about Owen Wilson trying to commit suicide was obviously just a cover story for these guys new mission. Im glad these guys are now 2 for 2! Even better than the Red Sox… Cheers

  52. Rick Hudson

    I see two starlike nuclei eccentric in the inner coma, the more central one being less starlight and less bright. The border of the outer coma is sharper on the side closer to the above ecccentric starlike nuclei. Has the comet split or is this just a background star? Celestron C8 observing from near Albuquerque. What a strange and rewarding object. I can see the inner coma easily even with my 10×50 unstabilized binoculars.

  53. Ron Hranac

    Sunday evening about 8:30 p.m. local time I stepped outside and easily spotted Comet Holmes (17P) by eye. It looks mostly star-like, but slightly fuzzy–and that’s from Denver, Colo.’s light-polluted suburbs! In 10×70 Fujinon binoculars, the comet is spectacular. Next was a TV85 and 13mm Ethos eyepiece, which produced a nice view of the comet. It reminds me of a planetary nebula, with an offset core. Let’s hope this critter stays visible for awhile!

  54. Michael Andrews

    I photographed 19P/Holmes again tonight (10/28/07) and found a surprising change – it *appears* that the nucleus has split. It has two bright elements in the center where the eccentric coma existed last night. It is possible that a star is shining through the coma so I’ll wait and see what the professionals astronomers say. — Mike Andrews

  55. Bill R. Smith

    I dont think the comet has split – I do think a background star is involved, and yet under high power, I see three possible neucli – will watch until early moring to see if any movement of the three. If it DID split, it would tend to confirm my earlier comment “Big Hit on Holmes? Or at least my thoughts. I really think that something hit it hard. I guess there was a prior outburst in history, but NOTHING like this!
    I understand Holmes is pretty far away from solar heating,and that would seem to favor a hit.

    Lets keep an eye on the nucleus area for a while – we should know for sure if it split soon. Clear skies to you all. Bill Smith

  56. Mick Homer

    Sunday 10/28/07 8:30PM CDST

    From near San Antonio, Texas, I though it would take some time to locate this comet for the first time. Man, was I surprised! Within 10 seconds after setup using Sky and Telescope’s info. and my Celestron Skymaster 25×100 binoculars with a good solid Slik 700 DX tripod, I couldn’t believe the size and clarity of this comet. It seemed as bright as reported, magnitude 2.8 or so, but much larger than what I expected it to be. It seemed to have two very small star-like objects inside the dust field, and I’m not sure they are on star charts. The binoculars were more than enough for this, and they definitely paid for themselves tonight!

  57. Mark

    It took me a minute or so to realize there was an extra star just below Mirfak when I looked up before putting my 10×80 binocs to my eye. I was expecting to scan down from Mirfak to Capella a little to locate Holmes. The Moon is fairly bright tonight and it was washing out lots of stars. I guess I misjudged Mirfak for Holmes, because when I looked through the binocs – Hokie Smoke, Bullwinkle! That’s no star, it’s a comet!

    Switching back to naked eye, I could talk myself into thinking that “new Mirfak” was a bit fuzzy!

    It’s still quite a beautiful sight, and 10x is just fine for observing it. The magnitude is holding up, right in there between 2 and 3.

    Mark
    Observing from Vancouver, WA, ~04:30 on 10/29/07 UTC
    45 31.4 N, 122 40.6 W

  58. Don Moffatt

    Just observed the comet at 11:10 PDT Sunday 28th / 4:10 UDT 29th from downtown Victoria, BC, Canada (lat ~48). The comet once again displayed a high, even surface brightness in my 12×50 binoculars. Magnitude comparisons with the stars in Perseus are becoming more difficult as its angular size grows.

    Scattered cloud made it difficult to be sure, but the comet still appears stellar to the eye: no hint of width to the eye. Contrast problems with thin city-illuminated cloud might be preventing me from seeing any width to it with my eyes.

  59. Bill R. Smith

    Just back from viewing Comet Holmes (near Ukiah, CA) under very steady and clear skies. It is now quite apparent comet did NOT splt. Stars involved. Using 13 inch Dob under fairly high power, saw obvious “fan” of material. From UT 03:00 to 06:00 29 October, observed subtle change in the fan of material. Seemed to widen a bit.

    Also, putting the comet just off field, I THINK I picked up a hint of a tail – perhaps one half degree and fairly broad and blue in color. Seemed to me to be pointing west, or ahead of the comets motion in the sky.. Hint of tail not really seen as well once Moon up several degrees.
    Any one else see this? Long exposure photos just off the coma will help determine if it is there..
    In my nearly 50 years of observing, this has to be the strangest comet performance I have ever seen. Fantastic!
    Clear skies, Bill Smith

  60. NS

    I may be using a bit of imagination, but to me with the naked eye (from near Honolulu) the comet does look a little different from a star. Not so much widened as z bit fuzzy. Through 8X42 binoculars and 4.5 inch telescope at 36X, it looks the same to me as two nights ago.

  61. David (and Andrew) Wonnacott

    I observed this comet last night, with my sons and a friend, at about 8PM EDT (on 10/28), through our 8-inch SCT and a 32mm eyepiece (for 62x). This was in the suburbs of Philadelphia, so there was a fair bit of light in the sky even before the moon got much above the horizon.

    The comet was quite impressive, and we thought that there were two distinct brighter spots within the bright region in the middle, with a roughly round halo surrounding the whole bright region. Did anyone else see this? The kids were wondering whether we might be seeing the nucleus split. (I didn’t see any other mention of it in the blog entries I’ve seen so far.)

  62. Jack Kramer

    The most obvious change I noticed on the night of 10/28 was that Comet Holmes now has two nuclei, one slightly brighter than the other. Also, the inner coma seems less prominent and not as fan-shaped anymore.

  63. Lawrence Shirley

    After learning of Comet Holmes’ outburst, I was frustrated by rain and cloudy skies until last night. Then, I just stepped out onto my front porch, surrounded by neighbors’ porch lights and a streetlight across the street, and with Balitmore’s usual hazy skies. Within seconds(!), I glanced toward Perseus–and there was Holmes jumping out at me. It reminded me of when I saw Halley in the mostly pristine skies of northern Nigeria on many nights in 1985-6.

  64. ignacio

    When the Deep Impact Mission was first described It struck me as being a preliminary step to delivering nuclear weapon to asteroids or comets. The characteristics of the impactor, its’ weight and delivery method suggested this. then I did not see why the technology would not be adapted to this more destructive and potentially more useful end. The possibility had been floated about academic circles in years presiding the Deep Impact event. it was likely to be attempted, I think we have all seen the signs:

    The the character of the outburst of comet Holmes 17P suggest a very energetic event. It orbit puts it always beyond the orbit of Mars! The rate of expansion of the dust, not gas, is relatively large. Further supporting the idea of a deliberate destruction, consider the inclination of the orbit of this comet. It is inclined away from the orbital plane of the Earth, but not to far for a earth egressed space craft to reach and in a rather stable fat ellipse. This makes comet holmes 17P reachable but more unlikely for debris to strike the earth. All this would make Holmes 17 P an ideal candidate for such a novel experiment. I think it is fairly obvious! What else would produce so Much dust at the rate observed? what are the probabilities of it happening naturally? in fact the clincher would be a Gamma Ray Burst event in the direction of the outburst at a point in time and space coinciding with the regressed expansion rate of the observed coma . . . does anybody have facility with SWIFT data?

  65. James Greengrass

    Folks:

    I was observing Comet Holmes last night at about 2045 hrs EDT. In a 200mm Newtonian at 60X and 138X I noted two distinct star-like objects in the centre of the coma. Has anyone else seen this? I haven’t done a detailed check with a star atlas, but I assume that these are not background stars since as far as I could tell they were moving with the coma. Have there been any other phenomena that would indicate that the nucleus has split? Does this lend credence to the collission theory of why the coment has brightened so suddenly and dramatically?

  66. Francis Graham

    Yes, the clouds finnnallly cleared in the Ohio
    Valley. After a week of hearing the pitter patter of
    rain on the observatory roof, and reading about Comet Holmes on the internet, it cleared and I
    screamed aloud: “Now I can see Comet Holmes!!!” I
    eagerly and excitedly rolled off the roof to the
    roll-off-roof observatory and paced the floor, waiting
    for darkness..it seemed like an eternity.
    Finally, the terminator swept across me as if it were
    a great liberation from the oppressive rule of some
    garish solar dictator. I long already had the
    telescope circles set, locked, and tracking.
    Zoweee! I was not disappointed. What a
    beautiful symmetric outburst! What a wonderful
    comet!

  67. Dan Platenak

    On 10-13-07 I was out with my meade Ds-2114 25mm eyepeice and a 2 x barlow .In Columbus ohio and slew the scope over to Comet Holmes .It was very Dim But Visible .But to hear the news I went out last night to see for myself . wow you all need to get out there and see this cloud ball.use binoulars.our city here has lots of light. yes definatly find a clear night sky and have a look . In 3 weeks since i viewed it last it really turned on big time …

  68. Erik Bakker

    Haren, The Netherlands, Europe, 30 oct 2007 00.10 CET. What an amazing and inspiring comet! Just finished observing with my 70 mm Vixen fluorite equipped with Baader binoviewer and 9 mm Nagler T6. From my observing notes: comet is just beautiful. Yellowish, almost circular coma with to concentric brightness zones. Starlike nucleus, with a curved v-shaped fan eminating into the innermost brightes ring in the coma. No tail. Huge comet!

  69. Christopher Dube

    First viewed the Comet Saturday night from Toronto, Ontario. Had no problem finding it without visual aid. Looked to be about magnitude 2.7 or so. Kind of a out of focus object. Kind of reminded me of Comet Hyakatake back in 1996.

  70. Steve Dutch

    I first learned about the comet via NASA’s Astronomy Photo of the Day site. When I first viewed it on Saturday, Oct. 27, it was easily visible as a magnitude 2.5 star. My wife said she could see it as slightly fuzzy but it looked starlike to me. In 7×50 binoculars it was a very bright, sharp edged disk with only a hint of central brightening.
    It was cloudy on the 28th. Tonight (Oct. 29) it was still easily visible to the unaided eye but appeared to have faded slightly in binoculars as well as becoming fuzzier. There was much more of a central condensation. After my eyes became dark adapted, I thought I could detect a faint hint of a tail extending maybe 10′ toward Andromeda. It also appeared distinctly pinkish or light orange – definitely a warmer tone than the surrounding stars.
    I observed from the west side of Green Bay Wisconsin, about a mile from downtown (pop. 100,000). Light pollution is noticeable toward the E and NE but bearable, and typical limiting magnitudes are around 4 for my eyes.

  71. Tom Thibault

    I finally had a chance to go out and take a look at Comet Holmes on 10/29 and 7:00 PM EST. It was easily seen with the naked eye. When I looked through the 32mm eye piece on my Celestron 8″ SCT, I was stunned at the view. It was big, around the size of a ful moon as seen with the naked eye, bright and glowing with the bright nuclei dead center. I ran in the house and dragged my wife Lisa and daughter Jess out for a look. My daughter described it as looking like a dandelion that was ready to release it seeds to the wind, prefect description. You could make out the brighter flair of gases off to one side and a single star shining through the gas halo at the very edge of the gaseous orb. When I put on a 8mm wide field lens Comet Holmes occupied 80% of the field of view, an absolutely fantastic view. I’ll be out there in my backyard in Massachusetts again to take in this unbelievable site.

  72. tkleespies

    My wife and I were observing Comet Holmes Monday night 29 Oct with separate telescopes set up a few feet from each other at our home in Owings, MD. At around 6:30 EDT we both observed a satellite cross right in front of the halo, just missing the coma. My best guess is that it was Saudisat 1B.

    Unfortunately, neither of us had a camera set up. The satellite only took a second or two to cross the field of view, so it would have been a difficult shot anyway.

  73. tkleespies

    My wife and I were observing Comet Holmes Monday night 29 Oct with separate telescopes set up a few feet from each other at our home in Owings, MD. At around 6:30 EDT we both observed a satellite cross right in front of the halo, just missing the coma. My best guess is that it was Saudisat 1B.

    Unfortunately, neither of us had a camera set up. The satellite only took a second or two to cross the field of view, so it would have been a difficult shot anyway.

  74. Walter Salvari

    Since the first reports about Comet Holmes brilliant outburst were known last week, I tried to see it, but overcast conditions in Southern California prevented it. Finally, last night, October 29, at 8 PM, using my Krohneger 7 x 50 binoculars, I saw it for the first time. It is quite a sight since the “Triangle” formed with Alpha Persei is really easy to spot. The comet’s position seemed to be in a quasi alignment position between Cassiopea and the Pleiades. Through binoculars, the comet looked quite bright. The nucleus could be seen, although higher magnifications will definetely show more detail. Still, this comet is a great sight whether observing is done using optical equipment or not.
    Walter Salvari

  75. Don Moffatt

    I saw Comet Holmes on Monday evening around 8:30, 9:30, and 11:10 PDT from Victoria, BC, Canada (lat ~48). In all cases it looked slightly non-stellar to the eye, but not dramatically so. Most people wouldn’t notice anything odd about it if attention wasn’t drawn to it: they might think it was just another star. My impression, through binoculars, was that the surface brightness was lower than the last few nights, perhaps by half a magnitude, although I did not make a proper estimate. The sky was very clear during all observations. I find that Holmes is an interesting comet, to be sure, but not as jaw-droppingly spectacular as I found Comets Hyakutake and Hale-Bopp to be in 1996 and 1997 (respectively), or as recent Comet McNaught (which I saw only in photos).

  76. 6degrees

    I was wondering if it were feasible for one of the probes orbiting Mars to be retasked to image the comet from a different perspective. It may provide a means for observing the dust tail, assuming we are viewing it along the long axis of a narrow cylinder.

  77. Bill R. Smith

    In my note sent the 29th, “No Splitsville” I mentioned that I THOUGHT I saw a very faint bluish tail extending from Holmes.
    It could have been optic tricks, but as I put the coma just off the field of view in a 14 incher with a wide angle eyepiece and moved the scope by hand back and forth, there did seem to be a short and broad tail, but at the limit of my scope and eyes. The “tail” was seen just above or to the west of the coma. I have used this technique with many other comets when looking for and at cometary tails. Clouds messed up last night (29th) however. Now, spaceweather.com reports what seems to be a hint of a tail.

    I suggest others with large scopes try my method and others with advanced photo equipment try for any tail also. Now that the Moon is less and less a problem, it may be easier.

    I also realize that the so-called “tail” might be a short lived event. And perhaps wanting to see one can help make it so. At any rate – good hunting and clear skies.
    Remember too, just getting folks to look at Holmes in the night sky promotes our loved hobby.

    Bill R. Smith, Ukiah, CA 12:15 PDT, Oct 30

  78. Erik Bakker

    Haren, The Netherlands, 30 oct 2007 22.30 CET

    Today I observed the comet with both my Astro-Physics EDF 130 with binoviewer and 9 mm Nagler T6 eyepieces and my Vixen 70mm fluorite and 24 mm WideField. In both telescopes the views were wonderful.

    Under better conditions then yesterday the comet looks even more yellow and is futher expanding.

    The two circular zones in the coma have now changed in an active v-shaped part eminating from the starliike nucleus, surrounded by a soft circular glow with a defining brighter outer ring.

    Compared to yesterdays view, it reminds me of a planetary nebula developing in a fast-forward time machine!

    Clear skies.

    Erik

  79. bobby knapp

    As a neophyte i must admit it took me a while to find Holmes’ home, but we finally did ID it as per the S&T diagram. naked eye, i couldn’t discern the Holmes from an average star. (Could i be looking at the wrong comet?). The first sighting was with 7X50 Binocs from a reclined patio chair (brrrr!). The 102mm Meade SC didn’t reveal a much different picture. To this novice eye, all i could see was a diffused ball of light. i had hoped to arrive in time to see a more defined object as ssen in the great pics found here on the site. Is that chance now gone for good? I am happy to have seen it at all though.. Great stuff! We appreciate all the great guidance found here.. Thanks!

    bobby knapp

  80. bobby knapp

    As a neophyte i must admit it took me a while to find Holmes’ home, but we finally did ID it as per the S&T diagram. naked eye, i couldn’t discern the Holmes from an average star. (Could i be looking at the wrong comet?). The first sighting was with 7X50 Binocs from a reclined patio chair (brrrr!). The 102mm Meade SC didn’t reveal a much different picture. To this novice eye, all i could see was a diffused ball of light. i had hoped to arrive in time to see a more defined object as ssen in the great pics found here on the site. Is that chance now gone for good? I am happy to have seen it at all though.. Great stuff! We appreciate all the great guidance found here.. Thanks!

    bobby knapp

  81. Stefan

    Went out last night (not expect much as the skies got too clear too quickly. After a quick glance in the binocs I HAD to drag out the 6″ newt- Amazing view in the 25 mm eyepiece- then I put in the 16mm—INCREDIBLE- even my wife came out for a peek!!!! Supposed to have Clear skies on friday- If so I’m gonna drag out the LPI and the laptop and see what happens (also hoping to borrow the parents ET-90- should be FUN!)

  82. abe simon

    just for lay people’s ref., last night, oct. 30, I observed the comet with my daughter and grandkids in her backyard from the north side of the city of Las Vegas. We could spot the “extra star” in Perseus with our naked eyes. In 10×50 binoculars it appeared very bright. I could barely make out the inner circle separately. Satisfyingly all of us saw it easily.
    Then I went to the desert about 15 miles north of city and using a 60 mm refractor I could see more detail. Of course the naked eye view and binocs were much better than in the city.

  83. Greg

    I observed Comet 17P/Holmes from my balcony in Denver, Colorado tonight at about 9:45 PM local time (MDT). I live in central Denver, where light pollution is about as bad as it gets. I would estimate limiting magnitude in the range 3-3.5. Even so, stepping outside with no dark adaptation, I could see 17P/Holmes as a naked-eye object once I figured out where Perseus should be! I could tell it wasn’t quite a star, but it was very indistinct. 8×56 Celestron binoculars showed it as a small disk with a bright center. Using an 8″ Newtonion (f/5.9) with a 25mm Plossl, the nucleus was obviously off-center. I saw no sign of a tail. Color was poor, probably due to poor dark adaptation.

    But overall, very nice indeed!

  84. Rahul Zota

    Comet 17P Holmes became very bright. I heared from a news channel on 28th October. I quickly pointed my 10×50 binocular in Perseus and that was unbeliveble, I haven’t seen this like comet in my life !!

    It was shining with unbelieveble bright light ( about mag. 2.5 ). I then observed it through my 8-inch scope. A bright nucleus surrounded with gaseous material. I saw that the tinny nucleus was few arc-seconds far from its main centre.

    Then on 30th October, we held a big comet-watching star party in Mr.Narendra Gor’s home.
    We showed the comet to about 150 people. Every body saw that comet with naked eye, binoculars and telescope.

    – Rahul Zota

  85. Kenneth

    Is there a possibility that Comet Holmes encountered an asteroid? It is too far away from the sun to have been subjected to a sudden thermal reaction causing an out- gassing. And if I am not mistaken, it is in the asteroid belt zone. It did give a beautiful display through my BT-100-45 binoculars.

  86. Arun Konagurthu

    Sighted comet Holmes last night! It was indiscernible from other lights in sky with the naked eyes. However, with my birding binocular (Nikon action 8×40), the distinct fuzziness gives it away. Glad to watch this once-in-a-life-time comet!

  87. Rick Bures

    We had cloudy skies for a few days, and tonight I saw a much different comet than a few nights ago. It seems now that the coma is about five times bigger than a few nights ago– similar now at 60X to what it was at 250X a few nights ago. The coma is much less condensed. Overall, it seems a lot dimmer, with the light more spread out.

  88. Richard Sanderson

    From my backyard in Feeding Hills, MA, I’ve observed Comet Holmes several times over the past week. My 8-inch f/6 reflector coupled with an 18mm eyepiece seem to be a perfect combination for observing the comet. The comet appears to have brightened slightly and enlarged a bit over the past week. The nucleus appears stellar and faint at X70, and is offset from the center of the circular coma. It appears to flicker within the brighter region surrounding it, as seen with averted vision. Last night, the coma appeared about 1/3 the angular size of the moon, or about 10 arcminutes in diameter. This is the most captivating comet since Hale-Bopp and Hyakutake.

  89. Mieczyslaw Szulc

    Today at 1735 I started observing the comet Holmes, using my venerable 8 inch Newtonian telescope. First of all I watched with my 10×50 binoculars,next with my small 2.4 inch refractor.After that I used my Newton to watch the comet.
    The comet seems to be without any tail. The coma is almost round but it’s much brighter on solar side than the other sides.The core was much more fuzzy than yesterday was and elongated towards the south.
    My observing sessions are much emotional than scientifical ,there is the main sens of amateur observations I think.

    Mieczyslaw

  90. Bill R. Smith

    Observed Holmes last night at 05:00 UT in both 11X80 binnocs and a 14 incher. Did not see hint of bluish tail that seemed to be there a few days ago. The coma is bigger – quite a sight!
    Dimmer? Light is spread out and it is a bit harder to determine magnitude. Naked eye, however, and comparing it to stars in Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, I would place it at about +2.8.

    Seeing the dust streams from the Pic du Midi annimation, I am pretty convinced that something must have hit the comet.
    Outgassing and dust is one thing, but the comet is pretty far from the sun. It IS possible a very large pocket of gas suddenly erupted through a thin crustual section, but with several apparent large pieces giving off dust in the Pic du Midi annimation, it points to one big whallop!

    Hope to see advanced astrophotographers come up with several dust sources and can track movement away from the comet.
    Again, good seeing and clear skies to you all.
    Bill R. Smith
    Ukiah, CA

  91. Stanley Gorodenski

    On October 24th I was alerted through a message in an Arizona discussion group called Az-Observing that the comet was a spectacular event to observe.

    Brian Skiff had mentioned in an email message that night of seeing a double nucleus through a 16” cassegrain on Mars Hill. After reading this I went out to observe the comet through my 16” LX200R around 10pm that evening at my observatory, Blue Hills Observatory, in Dewey, Arizona.

    With my 20mm eyepiece I saw a bright star-like nucleus at the head of a bright slightly fan shaped central region of the comet. However, with my 16mm eyepiece I saw more than a double nucleus. With the 16mm eyepiece the nucleus resolved itself into three points of light, each seeming to be almost equal in magnitude, and all three forming a shape close to an equilateral triangle. The resolution into three points of light, i.e., a triple nucleus, came and went with the seeing conditions. At some moments I saw a double nucleus and at other moments it would break up into a triple nucleus. It would alternate between the two depending on the seeing conditions. This observation, if valid and not an artifact of the atmospheric conditions (no one in the discussion group, Az-Observing, had an opinion on whether atmospheric conditions were playing tricks on me), is consistent with the breakup of the comet nucleus into multiple components as being a cause of the comet’s sudden brightening.

  92. Mick Homer

    I’m going to stick my neck out. Being an astronomical “renegade” or “outlaw,” I want to postulate the reason for the outburst:

    A wave, or belt of radiation of some kind (I’ll let the people who make money being scientist explain what it might be) reached the comet October 24th. I believe it was a direct hit from a solar flare. I have not calculated any major hit in that sector of the solar system, but that’s what I think! It was powerful enough to cause the comet a reaction that would increase its brillance to 1 million times of what it was at magnitude 16.

    Please tell me what you think, and by the way, which way is the comet itself actually going? Toward the Sun or away from the Sun? I could look for the answer, but you guys at S&T are great! Thanks!

  93. Ron Matola

    Anyone know the time lapse between the comet breaking up and the observation of the event here on Earth, i.e., what is an Au unit (comet to Earth distance) worth in terms of time at light speed ?

  94. Dan Douglas

    Hi Ron, an Au is the sun to earth distance or 93,000,000 miles. Light travels that distance in about 8 minutes and 20 seconds. Any event you see from the comet happened within the previous hour. In contrast the moons light takes about 1.4 seconds to reach us.

  95. NS

    Saw the comet again from Hawaii (after being rained out for several days) through 8X42 binoculars and 4.5 inch telescope at 36X. Seemed to be a bit fuzzier (brighter central area not as well defined) from the last time I saw it.

  96. Barry

    Comet brightly visible at 6:00 am here in Grand Forks. Viewing at this time is a lesson in mentally rotating images – comparing the S&T sky map drawn for the evening perspective to the actual view in the morning. Gives one a true sense of the spinning planet.

  97. Shivarama Krishnan

    When Comet Holmes brightened abruptly, It was raining here in India. I went looking for the comet every night…. Only saw the rain clouds gather!

    Tonight, as the clouds cleared, I got a splendid view of Comet Holmes in my 15×50 binoculars. It makes a nice little triangle with Alpha & Delta Per that just fits the field of view of my 15×50.

    You can just about make out the coma that is off centre to the fuzz-like appearance of the comet.

    The comet is quite a view, even though it is hazy. The fuzz is decipherable to the naked-eye. The following moonless nights will certainly be a plus.

    Shiva.

  98. Shivarama Krishnan

    When Comet Holmes brightened abruptly, It was raining here in India. I went looking for the comet every night…. Only saw the rain clouds gather!

    Tonight, as the clouds cleared, I got a splendid view of Comet Holmes in my 15×50 binoculars. It makes a nice little triangle with Alpha & Delta Per that just fits the field of view of my 15×50.

    You can just about make out the coma that is off centre to the fuzz-like appearance of the comet.

    The comet is quite a view, even though it is hazy. The fuzz is decipherable to the naked-eye. The following moonless nights will certainly be a plus.

    Shiva.

  99. J Dean

    I live just two blocks south of the Colorado state capitol building in Denver so there are lots of street lights outside my front door, not to mention the gold capitol dome, illuminated by spotlights. I couldn’t find the comet with my pretty, nude pupils, so I threw my 16 x 50 binoculars up on my face, and there it was, as promised, big as a boil, but just a dim blur.

    Once I took the lenses off my eyes I could just about make out the very faint comet haze if I screened the ground lighting from view with my hands. It’s like finding tiny Mercury: almost impossible to locate that tiny spark of light in late daylight without the binoculars, but easier to find with the eyes once spotted that way.

    The region around Perseus is not an area of the sky I am familar with, so that made the job harder. I just swept the northwest sky (05:45 MDT) slowly until I caught the comet.

    When I turned around to go home I spotted Venus blazing brilliantly in the east, with Regulus sitting right on the edge of the crescent moon.

    The reason the comet has brightened so much is just a Samhain thing. Samhain (“sow-in”) is an old Irish pagan festival corresponding to the modern Hallowe’en. That’s why the comet halo is green. The sky here in Denver was clear of cloud and haze, as usual. I’d be pretty smug about it if it weren’t for all the damned downtown lights, which are only good for finding nickels on the ground.

    Observation time: 3 Nov 2007 11:45 UT
    Observation location: +39.7354, -104.9863

  100. Bill R. Smith

    I observed Comet Holmes from near Ukiah, CA under dark skies, but seeing a bit unstable. (05:00UT – 09:00 UT) Comet has been around magnitude 2.8, but last night a tad brighter, perhaps 2.4. Color a pale blue green – hint of yellow in the fan. Coma still growing in size.

    The inner coma was still stellar like and only one was observable – at least visually – unstable seeing did not help. The edge of the coma near the fan of material was not nearly as well defined as the edge oppositethe fan.
    Broad VERY faint tail seen in 14-inch scope under low magnification. Some structure hinted at in the fan, perhaps dust streaks. Photos taken last night should show deatils.

    By the way – anyone else notice a fairly good number of meteors? Seemed more than normal. (Did not check for current showers.)

    One more point – it is so great to see so many excited about the comet! From beginners to advanced, this is great for amateur astronomy! Keep showing this to the public as often as possible, and I also really enjoy the postings here!
    Clear skies to all – Bill R. Smith

  101. Jeff Rabb

    I’ve been trying to keep an eye on it since the news broke about the comet. Of course, the famous San Francisco Bay fog has bedeviled me for much of the time though. However, I have managed to view it since Oct 25th several times using my 3in Orion reflector, binoculars, and just by eye. I remember seeing early on that the comet had a distint, bright nucleus surrounded by a fuzzy cloud. Last night, even though it still looks just as bright by eyesight, in both my binoculars and telescope, the nucleus has disappeared and it looks like one big diffuse ball of light.

  102. bobby knapp

    Stepped out here near the Jersey shore at 7:40PM to have a look at Holmes again. While getting bearings there were 2 meteor within one minute, one of them lasting about 2 seconds and leaving a visible trail. Seems like when it rains it pours! Though not yet at its highest point in our sky here, Holmes seems yet more diffused. What a ride!
    Good sightings to you all!
    bobby knapp

  103. Koos van Zyl

    After a few days of clouds, I sought out a high spot on a local wine farm here in Stellenbosch to see if I can spot comet Holmes. At 34 degrees South, Holmes culminates around 2am at a maximum altitude of just over 5 degrees!

    On the morning of October 31st, the northern horison cleared of the clouds that persisted the previous few days, although the sky near the horison was very hazy with pollutants. At 2am I scanned the northern horison with my 10x50s – I coudln’t see a single star with the unaided eye close to the horison – and spotted Holmes easily. I then set up my 15×70 binoculars – Holmes simply appeared a little bigger and brighter in them. At such a low altitude, the comet appeared to me like a slightly smaller, slightly fainter version of the globular cluster Omega Centauri.

    After observing the comet for 30 minutes or so I tried to spot it with the naked eye. I may have glimpsed it using “aggressive” averted vision, but I couldn’t hold it in view for longer than a fraction of a second.

    I will observe the Taurids over the next few days, which gives me a great opportunity to be monitoring Holmes.

    I think due to the brightness of the comet, it should be visible from even further south. I’d be interested to hear from any observers who’ve seen the comet from more than 34 degrees South. Mail me at erdwurm@gmail.com.

  104. Ed Erfurth

    I’ve been watching it through my 10×50 binoculars for the last week. Last night was cloudy, but tonight it’s quite clear and cold. Holmes is very diffused, like a frosted light bulb. I took out my 8″ SkyQuest dob with an 18mm Epic ED eyepiece, hoping to see some more detail, but nothing stood out, though it was huge in the eyepiece. Also, only one meteor moving north to south, quite bright with a long trail for about a full second.

  105. Bill Moser

    I went outside last night (November 3, 02 UT) hoping to see the comet from suburban Harrisburg, PA. I was amazed at how bright and easy it was to see. For a moment, I imagined what it must be like to see a naked eye nova. A close look revealed a small fuzzy disk to the unaided eye, which was clearly visible in 10X50 binoculars. In an 8-inch f/6 Newtonian it was a spectacular sight at 48X, and at 96X, it nearly filled the eyepiece field. Its edge was more definitely defined to the upper left than to the lower right in the inverted field.

  106. Brian Cerveny

    Observed comet Holmes from my observatory with some friends on 11/03-04/2007 in Owosso, Michigan USA. We observed the comet with 15 x 80 binoculars and noticed some irregular symmetry. The comet was easy to find because of its size ( about 3/4 of a degree) and its brightness (naked eye). Through a 8″ sct the globe appearance of the comet was unlike the comets I have observed. This observation will stay as a fond memory for years to come.

  107. Mick Homer

    Saturday, November 3rd,2007 11:00pm cdst Canyon Lake, Texas USA

    I’ve been observing now every night for 7 nights with my 25×100 Skymaster and Slik Pro 700 DX tripod. I have about a 2 1/2 degree FOV and the comet seems larger than a week ago. The comet seems to occupy 21 minutes of the view. Does that sound right to you?

    Great site again tonight, except this is the first night I could not see any stars inside, or what some were saying broken nuclei and/or single bright starlike nucleus. My question is, “Have they all been stars, or can you actually see a bright pinpoint light that is basically always in the same location. They all seem to move, and again, I see none, at all, to night so far. The brighter star nearby has to be HD 23552. Check me out on that. Great night tonight, and we even gained an hour!

  108. Patrick Finnigan

    Nov. 3 – High in the North-East, even with my neighbours’ porch lites and street lights blazing, it was easy to find Holmes with very small binoculars, then just naked-eye (using the Sky & Tel finder chart, of course). I called my wife out and she was suitably impressed. On Nov. 4 through a set of 8 cm. battleship binoculars (like you would find at scenic sites like the Grand Canyon) – Spectacular in the star field! – even from the centre of light washed Toronto.
    Round – no visible tail, but more dense at the centre and washing out to “crepe” around the edges.

  109. Holly Welch

    I just saw comet Holmes through my homemade 8-inch dob! I am very much a beginner in astronomy and had never even seen a comet before, so I was glad this one was so bright and easy to find (right from my apartment balcony!). I tried really hard to get a picture, but my camera couldn’t see it, and I don’t have any hi-tech astrocam stuff for tracking and stacking exposures… oh well. It was an awesome sight anyway! And it’s definitely inspiring for a newbie like me to find something so amazing in the sky.

  110. dbrekke

    Observing from Berkeley, California, in the well-lit Bay Area, the comet was easily visible unaided last night (11.3); tonight, it appears even brighter: my wife was able to pick it out immediately when I indicated its approximate location. Her comment on observing it with 10x binoculars: “Wow! It’s big!”

  111. Mick Homer

    11:00 pm cst Canyon Lake, Texas USA – 8th wonderful night once again to view Holme! My 25×100 binos are showing enlargement of comet to be 1/2 degree wide. No visible bright object within the dust and coma field. Still bright to naked eye at magnitude 3 or so. Looks like facing bottom of a soup can at arm’s distance. Some raggedness, bur relatively symmetrical with outer coma shooting toward the 2 o’clock position. — For those who did not look it up, yes, we are in the TAURID METEORS SHOWER. The frequency is about 5 per hour. They are know to create “fireballs and lunar explosions. BEST NIGHT TO SEE THEM IS TONIGHT, NOVEMBER 5TH! I ‘ve caught one good one! Look east-southeast toward Constellation Taurus. Early morning best when it’s up even high. Have fun!

  112. thomas

    i have been photographing the comet over the past few days and have put up some timelapses of it. you dont even need a telescope to get really great images of this one. I was using a 400mm lens on my slr and its very large and very bright in the frame. the videos of the comet that i have taken can be seen here: http://www.revver.com/playlist/show/291594/

    I am headed out with an 800mm lens tonight hopefully i can capture the faint tail that is starting to become visible (even though its facing directly away from the earth right now)

    thomas

  113. Terry swanets

    Hello again, I see I’m not the only one to hope
    that from Mars orbit, we get a second opinion.
    In Guerneville CA, I get about 2-3 hours under
    the redwoods, and only a few clear nights. I
    will use them wisely. Anyone in touch with NASA?
    …Regards, Terryswanets@comcast.net

  114. Paul McBride

    I have observed this comet with binoculars and taken several short exposure wide angle shots with a Canon EOS Camera. I learned that it is moving away from the sun, and away from the earth, using Cartes du Ciel as a reference. I’m very much impressed by the growth over the course of the last few days. Last evening Nov. 5, 9:30 UT it seemed uniform in brightness lacking a central core. It looked much like a distant globular cluster rather than a comet. It’s diameter was compared to that of triangle of stars on the western end of the Pleiades. The comet would fill the circle circumscribing that triangle. It was also very nearly the same size as the largest of the nearby pair of clusters commonly known as the Double Cluster, but much brighter. It has been very interesting watching it grow.

  115. thomas

    I have been recording time-lapse videos of the comet over the past few nights and have posted them here:

    http://www.revver.com/playlist/show/291594/

    I will be adding more for as long as i can still capture it with my cameras

    It really easy to see now and to photograph. I have been using dslr cameras at the highest iso possible (iso 1600-6400), using lenses that range from 24mm to 400mm. you can get a really great shot with a 200mm or so lens.

    t

  116. Ruben Saucedo

    I had clesr skies over San Antonio so I expected to have a good view of the comet. I researched where to find it and with the help of a Star chart it was easy to find with naked eye. I tried Binoculars and close to 10:00PM
    it was a very well defined round nebular looking object fuzzy but bright. I decided to look at it with my 90mm Meade ETX telescope but the image was not very clear I was using a 26mm Super Plossl eyepiece. I decided to add a Contrast Baader Filter and it enhanced the image better.I tried looking at the Comet with my 8’in Dobsonian with the filter and a 25mm eyepiece and the image came through very clear and well defined I watched till after midnight and it got brighter as it climbed higher in the night sky. It was well worth the sacrifice to see the Comet.A little lost sleep was well worth it.

  117. Ruben Saucedo

    I had clesr skies over San Antonio so I expected to have a good view of the comet. I researched where to find it and with the help of a Star chart it was easy to find with naked eye. I tried Binoculars and close to 10:00PM
    it was a very well defined round nebular looking object fuzzy but bright. I decided to look at it with my 90mm Meade ETX telescope but the image was not very clear I was using a 26mm Super Plossl eyepiece. I decided to add a Contrast Baader Filter and it enhanced the image better.I tried looking at the Comet with my 8’in Dobsonian with the filter and a 25mm eyepiece and the image came through very clear and well defined I watched till after midnight and it got brighter as it climbed higher in the night sky. It was well worth the sacrifice to see the Comet.A little lost sleep was well worth it.

  118. sunmines

    0711061900. From La Grande, OR, USA, you can see Comet Holmes unaided, with the naked eye. It has moved about one or two degrees from where it was last night.

  119. Terry Swanets

    Beutiful unusual comet. Not the brightest, but
    interesting. Lost sight of it last 2 nites due
    to fog, but the images are very striking. Who
    knows what this little pile of hills will do in
    the upcoming weeks? Did it get asunburn? Will
    ir flair up again in 8 years? I’ve been known to
    put sandstone in the campgound fire pit, and
    they seem to act the same, Expose surface area.
    …QUESTIoN?…When it gets home, will it
    re-congeal, or get trapped by Jupiter or Mars?
    Any threat to the Earth? Gotta go look again
    while my sky stays clear. terryswanets@comcast.com

  120. Terry Swanets

    Beutiful unusual comet. Not the brightest, but
    interesting. Lost sight of it last 2 nites due
    to fog, but the images are very striking. Who
    knows what this little pile of hills will do in
    the upcoming weeks? Did it get asunburn? Will
    ir flair up again in 8 years? I’ve been known to
    put sandstone in the campgound fire pit, and
    they seem to act the same, Expose surface area.
    …QUESTIoN?…When it gets home, will it
    re-congeal, or get trapped by Jupiter or Mars?
    Any threat to the Earth? Gotta go look again
    while my sky stays clear. terryswanets@comcast.com

  121. Richard J Bartlett

    Caught it between the clouds tonight for the first time – can’t believe I have been so hung up on catching the last of the summer DSO’s to have missed this and now I’m kicking myself…

    Anyway, it’s very easily seen from the suburban skies of Lawton, OK. Looked good in binoculars – a bright, fuzzy circular patch that looked like the Keystone cluster at about 50x through a small ‘scope. Couldn’t see any sign of the nucleus through my 7x binoculars, even with averted vision.

    Hopefully I’ll get the chance to look at it through my 4.5″ Dob over the next few nights…

  122. Bill R. SMith

    In the pictures recently sent in to Sky and Telescope, there is one with side-by-side photos of Comet Holmes, taken 90 minutes apart by Peter W. Obrien (11-4-07). If you use the “cross your eyes” method or blend the two images together, you get a very nice 3-D effect showing the central condensation in the “middle” of the coma. NICE JOB Peter Obrien!

    I suggest more advanced astrophotographers try the same idea with perhaps a 2 hour difference.

    Keep telling others about a once in a lifetime event. It’s a great way to spread the interest in our hobby. Clear skies to you all, Bill R. Smith, Ukiah, CA.

  123. Philip Neidlinger

    Saw the comet without optical aid from a church parking lot with lots of light pollution. Showed it to about 20 cubscouts in my pack with a 3″ refractor. Nice comet. BIG in the telescope.

    Philip Neidlinger
    Richmond Hill, GA
    Cub Scout Pack 527

  124. Richard J Bartlett

    I hope these copy and paste okay… I’m in the suburbs of Lawton, OK and I’ve just made a couple of observations with my Orion SkyQuest 4.5XT.

    Firstly, with the naked eye, it’s visible as a faint, fuzzy star, still near Mirphak. Hard to esitmate a brightness but it seemed comparable to Psi Persei, at mag 4.4

    Here is what I wrote in my log with my ‘scope… hope the formatting works okay, if not, my apologies…

    Sirius Plössl 26mm, 26.0mm, 35x, 89.1′
    OMG! This is probably the weirdest thing I have ever seen through a telescope. It looks like a ghostly blob… the leading side, to the west, is quite circular and well defined. The eastern edge, where the tail would normally be (and it’s a shame it has no tail) is diffuse but overall the comet looks circular. The nucleus is about a third of the size of the visible comet and is oval along the east / west axis. It’s about twice as bright as the surrounding coma and is quite well defined. There’s a definite distinction between the nucleus and the coma. The nucleus does not look at all stellar, in any way. One other thought came to mind… this thing is HUGE. I will not forget this in a hurry!

    Sirius Plössl 26mm X2.0, 26.0mm, 70x, 44.6′
    I also observed it at 70x but the view, apart form being magnified, was about the same. No new details.

    Sirius Plössl 17mm X2.0, 17.0mm, 107x, 29.1′
    The thing almost fills my entire FOV, but again, no new details.

  125. Arthur Hass

    I was out last night (11/7/2007, 9:00p EST) just to see if I could find Holmes using my 10×50 binoculars. Within five seconds, it was filling 1/3 the field of view – a large fuzzy white blob, but very distinct. I’m in a western Washington DC suburb and the ambient light is horrible, but Holmes is still very visible to the unaided eye. I could even stand on my front porch with neighboring house lights obstructing the view and spot Holmes!

    Forecast is for cloudy skies here for the next several days :(
    If skies clear, maybe I’ll attempt some photos with my Sony A-100 DSLR.

  126. Prof, Willam F. LaCurtis

    Since October 23, 2007, I have been tracking this rather spcial Comet, 17P/Holmes, off & on, via various instrumentation. Working in the Astronomy Department of a local CUNY College, I have observed said comet with several different instruments, that range from a pair of 15 x 70mm Binoculars, to our Astrophysical Observatory’s LX-200, 16″ SCT with attached 4″ APO refractor. I have also done night by night field studies, as weather would allow, with my own 10mm APO, wide-field refractor,with a myriad of ultra-wide field, 2″ eyepiecs..

  127. Prof, Willam F. LaCurtis

    Since October 23, 2007, I have been tracking this rather spcial Comet, 17P/Holmes, off & on, via various instrumentation. Working in the Astronomy Department of a local CUNY College, I have observed said comet with several different instruments, that range from a pair of 15 x 70mm Binoculars, to our Astrophysical Observatory’s LX-200, 16″ SCT with attached 4″ APO refractor. I have also done night by night field studies, as weather would allow, with my own 10mm APO, wide-field refractor,with a myriad of ultra-wide field, 2″ eyepiecs.
    While tracking the comet, just prior to the outburst, as barely visible, from a light polluted area, the amazing “overnight” transformation made this the exciting astronomical object of 2007. After skies cleared, on the night of 10/25, we had this bright 3.0/2.8 object, with a rather special “soap bubble” uniform appearance in the overall visible coma, including a nicely concentrated, nucleus area. At that date, with my 100mm APO, the comet stood-out very nicely against background, and with the 16″” SCT, I had judged the overall appar. visible dia. at approx. 6.2 arc mins. (with the nucleus at 2.1 acr mins.) and the appar. vis. mag. at 3.1 (this could have been dimmed a slight bit, skewed from an accurate fig., due to background light pollution.
    By 11/1/2007, the comet had rown even further in overall scope, as it approached the Sun, still with no tail detectable by myself, at high mag. By 11/3, the nucleus did appear, to me, slightly more off-center from the overall sphere.

  128. Prof. William F. LaCurtis

    By 11/6/2007, the comet had grown even further in overall scope, as it approached the Sun, still with no tail detectable by myself, at high mag. By 11/7, the nucleus did appear, to me,to be more off-center from the overall spherical coma, and I thought, during a few moments of better seeing, to be able to detect a slight yellow-white color tint to the comet. Still no sign of a tail, with the 16″ SCT. Under hih mag., it was of interest to see several faint background stars, directly through the comet’s outer & central sections. The nucleus apeared to me to be smaller, perhaps 1.2 arc seconds. No dust trails under CCD images, however, still making note of the slightly displaced nucleus, and now larger overall coma, as the overall vis. mag seems to dim to approx. 3.4. Still no dust trails or tail can be seen by me, given light pollution factors.

  129. e

    Seeing Comet 17P Holmes for the first time was exhilarating to say the least. My husband Mark and I drove up to the top of a well known lover’s lookout to get a clear view of the comet on November 9th at 7 PM. Sure enough, people there but they were not there to see the comet.

    My binoculars pointed at Perseus it took me about a half a second to find the fuzzy vision. It is stunning when you actually SEE it, just as it was seeing the rings of Saturn for the first time, I just stared. Handing the binocs over to Mark, he saw it and let out a WOW. Later on that night I would periodically go out to see if I could see it naked eye and sure enough I could. I called my neighbors out to see it with binocs, and they were all quite happy I dragged them out of their cozy home to see Comet 17P Holmes.

  130. e

    Seeing Comet 17P Holmes for the first time was exhilarating to say the least. My husband Mark and I drove up to the top of a well known lover’s lookout to get a clear view of the comet on November 9th at 7 PM. Sure enough, people there but they were not there to see the comet.

    My binoculars pointed at Perseus it took me about a half a second to find the fuzzy vision. It is stunning when you actually SEE it, just as it was seeing the rings of Saturn for the first time, I just stared. Handing the binocs over to Mark, he saw it and let out a WOW. Later on that night I would periodically go out to see if I could see it naked eye and sure enough I could. I called my neighbors out to see it with binocs, and they were all quite happy I dragged them out of their cozy home to see Comet 17P Holmes.

  131. Mike G, Cascade Observatory.

    This is a post on the Comet from my area, I have a backyard Observatory and have been following this comet since October, I am in the Interior Of British Columbia, Canada
    Lat:50.11, Long -120.80, I have to battle some light pollution but being a smaller city not as much as others.

    Oct 302007- 9.05 Pm to 10.35 PM
    Comet 17P Holmes was easy to locate near Cassiopeia,once located was easy to spot with the naked eye,I used my Celestron 80GTL with 25mm eyepeice,also used my Meade ETX-70 with MA25mm Eyepeice as well,easy to see the Core in the middle as well as a light green Corona enveloping it.

    Nov 022007-9.30 PM to 10.00 PM.
    Viewed Comet 17P with my Tasco 675 (6″ Newt) useing an H20mm eyepeice,would appear that the North side of the Comet is starting to Fuzz or Tail out, Corona was much larger tonite,the Core still very bright and easy to see at this power.

    Nov 072007-10.30 pm to 11.30 pm.
    Used Meade ETX-70 on low power,had to contend with a few wind gusts, Comet 17P seems to be fading a bit, the Tail much more noticeable tonight, Not sure if I was having Visability issue’s or very high cloud but could not make out the Core tonite for the 1st time,will know more when the clouds and rain have lifted and I can do more viewing and more research

    All in all this has been a great Comet to Observe I was fortunate to see Comet Mcnaught with the naked eye but was not able to get my scope on it before it dove below the Montains in my area,so this has been an absolutly a joy to watch and share with my Wife over the last 2 weeks, will keep watching till this one fades…hopefully not to soon anyway.

  132. Mick Homer

    Canyon Lake, Texas 11-09-07 11:00 pm cst – AWESOME AGAIN! My 10th out of 12 nights. I’m using a 25×100 Skymaster Binocular and Slik Pro 700 DX tripod. I’ve seen it go from 15 minutes across to 40 minutes. The sharp and distinct apex of the coma was bright and separated from the diffused dust field toward the upper right quadrant. It was so dark and well defined on the apex side! Giving up the idea that the outburst was caused by outer influence, and much study on this, I believe this comet has internal properties that wear down and flake, crack, and break off, releasing softer icy components inside, similar to the outburst when it was discoverd in 1892 by Edwin Holmes. Being where it is located, small impacts by pebble-like objects may have happened without a more dramatic break-up. So, it appears to be settling down and probably will return to obscurity if it does not have another episode like October 24th. BUT IT IS THE BEST DARN SIGHT OUT THERE TONIGHT UNLESS YOU SEE A “TAURID METEOR” WHILE VIEWING 17P HOLMES!

  133. Berry

    Finally found the comet with my naked eye; it may be once in a lifetime event, but it is very faint and seems unremarkable if you do not know what to look for. San Jose, CA Nov 9

  134. Dave

    Ok… I know this seems like a really dumb question, but i have been observing the comet with my naked eye, binocs, and my Meade ETX90 since late October. By my memory, it has essentially been in the same location with respect to the nearest two bright stars, making a nice triangle… very easy to find, and a reliable way to help others find it in the sky. On Tues the 6th, I was out, and showed it to a few friends… it appeared to be in the same place I have seen it for days and days and days… Then, we had two nights of heavy fog… Last night, and tonight, however, I have observed that in relation to those two closest brightest stars, it seems to have ‘moved’ quite significantly… How is this possible? Or has it really been ‘moving’ all along, and I just haven’t noticed because I view it nearly every night… then with two days of fog, it just appears to have ‘jumped.’ Can someone answer this inane question for me? Thanks. Observed almost nightly since October 26th, from San Jose and Fremont, CA.

  135. Charles Laubach

    Comet Holmes is visible clearly from my front year in the center of light-polluted Dubai in the United Arab Emirates on the evening of 10 November 2007. Naked eye object, although it’s better in binoculars. I am going to show it to our local Scout troop tomorrow night.

    Charles Laubach
    Dubai
    United Arab Emirates
    attcsl@emirates.net.ae

  136. simon brown

    observing from norfolk island(29 degrees south).using meade ds2130 most effective with 26ml lense-higher magnification losing resolution.easy to find with naked eye however low in northern sky.not quite mcnaught but still great!

  137. Paul McBride

    November 12, 2:00 UT.
    About two hours ago, I could see Holmes well. I went in and discovered that I could tweak the H and G items in the Cartes du Ceil comet section of catalog parameter preferences. I then instructed the program to render the comet by size instead of symbol. After several attempts, I finally got something similar to observation. H= -1.7 and G=6 yielded a chart with something similar to what I was observing naked eye. This was after a recent download of comet elements which had to be altered in the H and G parameters.
    Hopefully others will play with this and data might be collected over the several evenings to get an idea of Absolute to Visual Magnitude. Just a thought. Thanks

  138. Paul McBride

    In my previous post I stated that I could achieve a similar chart to observation by tweaking the H and G parameters. I should have added that the visual magnitude displayed by the chart should be considered during the process, as well as size. I finally settled for an overall visual magnitude of 1.8, H = -1.7 and G = 6.0. This is a first attempt and I suspect the magnitude to be stated a bit bright and the size displayed by the chart just a bit small. This could be pursued by others as well.

    Again, Thanks.

  139. Paul McBride

    Several days ago, I stated that the comet was about the size of the circumscribed circle about a triangle of stars in the Plieades, I failed to name the stars. They are: Maia, Electra, and Taygeta. One minute exposures with a Canon Ti at ISO 1600 f3.5 failed to reveal a tail. Tonight, Nov. 12 3:00 UT The comet appears not to have changed much in overal diameter, but appears dimmer somewhat than the other evening. Naked eye comparison with delta Persieus yields visual magnitude very near 3.0. In binoculars, 50mm, the comet is quite striking and an extremely faint tail seems to be present though probably wishful thinking. Also spotted one of those Taurid Meteors, heading NE.

    Again, Thanks.

  140. pietrowski

    Finally it had stopped raining in Delaware. Just finish
    my observation of comet Holmes, it appears to be at magnitude 2.75 – 3.0. There is upper fog in our area and
    some light pollution surrounding my home. I only have a 7×35
    pair of binocular, but the seeing is great, the comet looks like a fine smudge of light against the background sky, there is no noticable nucleus that I can detect with this
    small instrument, and there is no cometary tail.

    Finally, a clear night.Good observation astronomers.

  141. Stefan

    Got out last night between the clouds- Holmes seemed a lot dimmer- but then seeing was not the best- The dust cloud almost filled the 15mm eyepiece- but was disappointingly dim- I took a peek with the 25mm- a bit brighter- but still not as nice as 2 weeks ago- hopefully seeing will improve soon!

  142. Robert Dugmore

    November 14th,Birmingham,England.

    I was outside tonight battling with a new goto system when I took a break and reverted to eyeball viewing! Suddenly, I spotted a naked eye nebulosity in Perseus.Wow!! In my 10x 50 binoculars the sight was amazing, but I could find no reference to it in astronomy mags or other sources, until I visited your web site. Obviously, this was because nobody could have anticipated its eruption into a massive binocular object. My site in Birmingham is VERY light polluted, yet I could still see it without binos or a scope.

  143. Robert Dugmore

    November 14th,Birmingham,England.

    I was outside tonight battling with a new goto system when I took a break and reverted to eyeball viewing! Suddenly, I spotted a naked eye nebulosity in Perseus.Wow!! In my 10x 50 binoculars the sight was amazing, but I could find no reference to it in astronomy mags or other sources, until I visited your web site. Obviously, this was because nobody could have anticipated its eruption into a massive binocular object. My site in Birmingham is VERY light polluted, yet I could still see it without binos or a scope.

  144. Joseph Roy D. North

    I just observed Comet Holmes close to Mirfak at ~ Nov. 16 d 20 h 30 m CST with my 7×35 binoculars in north Austin, TX, and
    while it is still visible, it seems much less spectacular –
    more diffuse – than it was on Nov. 02 d, unfortunately.

  145. NS

    After several days of rain I just observed the comet using 8X42 binoculars from near Honolulu. It is as Joseph Roy D. North described — bigger but much dimmer than when I last observed it with binoculars or telescope. I did see it with the naked eye from Maui on Saturday. A much darker sky than here, but unfortunately I didn’t have binoculars or anything with me.

  146. Michael Boschat

    I would say that the comet is becoming harder to
    see. I used my 10×50 binoculars last night – Nov.18
    at about 2300 UT and it took a bit to see the diffuse comet.
    Of course being in the city with light pollution
    did not help though I *can* see 5.0 mag stars on clear nights.
    I then tried my 20×60 binoculars and the comet was a bit brighter but still big. I just amazed that it is still
    somewhat visible from Halifax. Be interesting to see it
    cover Alpha Persei tonight and will the star dim a bit?

  147. Joseph Roy D. North

    I just tried to observe Comet Holmes close to Mirfak at ~ Nov. 19 d 04 h 59 m CST with my 7×35 binoculars in north Austin, TX, and I could not recognize it, unfortunately.

  148. Claude McEldery

    I have been observing this comet since Oct. 30th from my home in Michigan. It is one of the most exciting objects to come along in a long time. I last observed it on 19 Nov 3:51 UT when I estimated it’s brightness to be 4th Magnitude using 7x50mm Binoculars. The comet is so large I could not expand my comparison star images to the same size, so I had to fudge it. That is the limit of visibility from my suburban location and I could not make out the comet naked eye. Using the same 7x50mm Binoculars I estimate the Coma has grown to 40′ of arc – HUGE !
    Through my 8″ Schmidt Cassegrain Telescope the Coma filled the entire F.O.V. at 80x. Alpha Perseus was shinning brightly about 18′ of arc south southwest of the nucleus. The nucleus was very difficult to see. At first I didn’t think there was a nucleus, but later a diffuse brightening was barely noticeable within the inner coma. It was pretty small.
    If the comet continues to fade it most likely will not be visible for much longer. It has been an exciting ride though.

  149. Ernie Poani

    Enjoy observing Comet 17P Holmes since 06 Nov. 2007 at various times. Provided a public watch, from Lake Taylorville IL, on 17 Nov. 2007 as 17P approached Mirfak. Used 6 inch and 10 inch reflectors at 50x to 100x for great views. I have questions about the rapid erruption and fading of this comet. The brief tail is intriguing too. 17P has faded considerably but I found it Tuesday night 27 Nov. 2007 with 7×35 binoculars and averted vision in the northeast sky at 19:00 CST. It appeared ghost-like about 2 degress south of Mirfak. Thanks to Sky & Telescope for this forum. EJP

  150. David Cater

    Comet Holmes is still a naked-eye object as of Nov. 28 in small-town iowa. Through 8X binocs is appears as a nearly spherical blur, rather larger than the diameter of the full moon. At 11 pm Nov. 28 is was plainly visible without the binocs, even though the moon was well up in the east.

  151. Jean LoupDonyan

    Tonight, at 21:00 h here North of Cuernavaca MX, I could see Holmes with the naked eye (after half an hour in the dark) Now it is 02:00 h of Sep 3, Holmes still visible (and cold!!!)
    DonYan

  152. Jean LoupDonyan

    Tonight, at 21:00 h here North of Cuernavaca MX, I could see Holmes with the naked eye (after half an hour in the dark) Now it is 02:00 h of Sep 3, Holmes still visible (and cold!!!)
    DonYan

  153. David

    Just witnessed a major outburst from comet Holmes around 5:30AM CST 12/10/07. Was very bright and you could see the nucleus very distinctly. It looked like waves of material were coming off the comet. All this with naked eye. About a half hour later the comet was invisible to naked eye again.

  154. Dave Edwards

    I live in Barrie, Ontario Canada. 44n24 latitude, -79w40 longitude. Tonight at 7:00 pm saw smudgy comet just outside the Summer Triangle almost 90 degrees overhead. Barrie has a light pollution problem, but a nucleus and tail were visible under 8×50 binoculars. Naked eye, it was as bright as the Pleiades. If it’s Holmes, has it cranked up the light levels again? Thanx.

  155. L. Swenson

    Our location is Montgomery, Alabama and we first sighted Holmes Comet in the southern sky on December 10 at approximately 6:00 p.m. The sighted was prompted by an unusual “cotton ball” in the sky. It was spectacular with a dual tail that resembled two commas back to back. It faded significantly as it moved eastward from our location, becoming undetectable by the naked eye by 6:30 p.m.

  156. David Dinehart

    We were sitting on our patio between 5:30 and 6:00 last night(10 Dec). I just happened to look straight up and there it was. Beautiful. We used a pair of 10x binoculars and then I went to get out the telescope. In the few minutes it took to get it Holmes had already dimmed to near invisibility. Tonight we plan to be ready.

  157. Joel Marks

    All of the striking photographs I’ve seen comparing the size of Comet Holmes to the Moon fail to mention that this is only visual size in the sky. I believe I read that the comet was approximately the distance of the Sun when it first became prominent. Hence its physical size would be closer to that of the Sun than of the Moon! Yes?

  158. Michael T. Bee

    Nov 24th we were vistiing relatives in Duluth, Mn. They live near the beach, we took a small pair of binoculars there with us and observed the comet over the lake. It was very ‘Christamas-y’. That is, it appeared to glow red or green at times.

    Did appear to have a slight tail or trail.

    I live in Minneapolis, since, this time, I’ve continued to observe most clear nights in early evening. Also, early in morning toward west.

    I’m grateful for it’s appearance. I’ve been able to show it / spark interest in astronmy with relatives, friends, & neighbors.

  159. Steve Huston

    During the night of Dec 13/14 07 observed Holmes from the south rim of the Grand Canyon. The NP service announced at the park that an observing site for a meteor shower would be provided (with a heated building) Yes, it was very cold!
    The winter Milky Way was visible as was the comet. The ¼ moon was very low in the sw sky hidden by trees. Holmes was directly overhead and appeared to the eye as a small white cloud.

  160. Paul McBride

    Just a note:
    I could still See Comet Holmes with unaided eye on December 31 UT from outside Harrison, Arkansas. Binoculars 50mm 10x yielded a wide faint patch that filled the field of view. I swept it out back and forth til I was certain it was the object. The sky was clear and cloudless. This has been an interesting object, indeed. The rapidity of expansion is somewhat amazing. Something blew up on that object throwing stuff out an remarkable speeds.

  161. Gerald Rowe

    This I know an old subject. But trying to calculate chance
    has little merrit. Its trajectory wasn’t to awlful far from the Orionids Halleys dibris trail. Seems likely that a chance glance spin from a hit would have been a reasonable cause for the expansion rate of its atmosphere. Has such been ruled out? Quite an unusual occurance anyway. Quite an unexpected treat for star gazers anyway. Dont plan to see such a thing in my life twice. It was a thought while enjoying Jupiter at opposition last week.
    Gerald / Marrowstone Island, Wa.

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