Comet now visible to naked eye after becoming 1-mln times brighterNovember 14th, 2007 - 2:54 am ICT by admin
Comet Holmes is located in the constellation Perseus and is visible for most of the night. For observers at the latitude of Boston, in the US, the comet is circumpolar, never setting below the horizon. In appearance, it resembles a fuzzy, yellowish star.
On October 23, the comet was a dim 17th magnitude, 25,000 times too faint to be seen with the unaided eye. One day later, its brightness increased to 7th magnitude.
The most recent observations peg it at magnitude 2 to 3: an increase of a factor of one million.
The outburst has baffled experts, as they find it almost impossible to explain how a tiny comet, whose nucleus is no more than two miles across, grow so bright so fast.
Brian Masden, director emeritus of the Minor Planet Center said: “This is a terrific outburst and since the comet doesn’t have a tail right now, some observers have confused it with a nova. In fact, we’ve had at least two reports of a new star”.
Some astronomers have suggested that a crack on the comet’s surface opened up, exposing fresh ice in its interiors to the Sun. This in turn, caused an explosive eruption of dust and gas, leading the comet to increase its brightness manifold.
Astronomers are now contemplating studying the matter closely in the weeks to come. (ANI)
- Elusive green comet Hartley 2 will be visible today - Oct 20, 2010
- Comet Hartley 2 Will Be Visible From The Northern Horizon - Oct 20, 2010
- 14 large space rocks found beyond Neptune - Sep 14, 2010
- Newly discovered comet dazzles skywatchers with increasing brightness - Jun 10, 2010
- One of universe's biggest, brightest comets to paint skies green this week - Jun 16, 2010
- Meteor shower to sparkle sky Thursday - Aug 11, 2010
- Comet Hartley 2 Set To Pass Close By Earth - Oct 20, 2010
- Exploding stars reveal never-before seen patterns - Dec 04, 2010
- NASA'S NEOWISE finds previously unknown 20 comets, 33,000 asteroids - Feb 02, 2011
- Earth set to have a close encounter with Comet Hartley 2 - Oct 04, 2010
- Largest cometary outburst sent "mini comets" flying at 451 kms an hour - Sep 17, 2009
- Earth to have a close encounter with Comet Hartley 2 today - Oct 20, 2010
- Treat for sky gazers, comet closest to Earth Tuesday - Jun 14, 2010
- Comet McNaught closest to Earth next week - Jun 11, 2010
- Get ready to see planet triangle, Moon, asteroid sky show - Aug 12, 2010
Tags: astronomers, brightness, circumpolar, comet, constellation perseus, contemplating, director emeritus, explosive eruption, magnitude, minor planet center, mln, naked eye, new star, northern hemisphere, nucleus, observers, one day later, outburst, telescopes, unaided eye