Friday, October 26, 2007

bright comet alert!

all this applying for jobs, giving talks and finishing papers stuff has kept me pretty busy.... but not too busy to notice the unexpected brightening of comet holmes! this comet has gone from very very faint to detectable by our naked eyes literally overnight!

you can read all about it at sky and telescope here and get some finding charts for where to look here.

it's low in the north-east after sunset for those of up in the united states and it rises high overhead during the night. the images through a telescope dont look like the common idea of a comet with the big flashy tail flowing off the to side.

instead, it looks like a point of light with an off center fuzz ball around it! this is because the tails of all comets always point away from the sun due to solar wind. since this object rises in the east just after sunset, the sun has just set on our western horizon.... the opposite side of the sky! so the comet does have a tail, its just pointing directly away from us right now!

ok, gotta run outside to catch the ISS passing overhead


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