A special treat for Halloween viewing!

This was just sent to me by a friend… More details forthcoming.

When Comet 17P/Holmes burst on the scene last week “brightening by a factor of a million in just 2 days” no one knew for sure how long it would last. The good news: The comet continues to put on a nice show for Northern Hemisphere observers the whole night.

Comet 17P Holmes, now visible to northern hemisphere residents, increased its brightness by a factor of one million this week, going from magnitude 17 to 2. This makes it visible to the unaided eye as well as binoculars and telescopes, offering a unique viewing opportunity for sky watchers. “This is a terrific outburst,” said Brian Marsden, director emeritus of the Minor Planet Center, which tracks known comets and asteroids. Washington, Oct 26 : The Comet 17P Holmes has increased its brightness by a factor of one million, new observations by astronomers at the Minor Planet Center, which tracks comets and asteroids, has revealed. This makes it visible to the unaided eye, as well as to binoculars and telescopes in the northern hemisphere area

The comet lies about 30° high “one-third of the way from the horizon to straight overhead” at 9 p.m. local daylight time. It then appears about twice as high as the bright star Capella. For observers at mid-northern latitudes, the comet climbs directly overhead between 2 and 3 a.m. Even better, the waning gibbous Moon doesn’t rise until around 11 p.m. Halloween night, and it comes up about an hour later (with less of it lit) each succeeding night.

Comet Holmes was discovered in 1892 by Edwin Holmes when it brightened enough to become faintly visible with the naked eye, it was also seen in 1893, 1899 and 1906, but then it was not spotted again until 1964. Comet Holmes can now be seen in the constellation of Perseus. And according to Space Weather, a gaseous cloud is racing from the core of the comet almost doubling night after night and has now become a naked eye disk instead of a dimensionless point of light.

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