Comet draws scientific, amateur interest

Discussion in 'Up to the Minute' started by Dark Knight, Nov 2, 2007.

  1. Dark Knight

    Dark Knight New Member

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    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - A comet that has unexpectedly brightened in the past couple of weeks and now is visible to the naked eye is attracting professional and amateur interest.
    Paul Lewis, director of astronomy outreach at the University of Tennessee, is drawing students to the roof of Nielsen Physics Building for special viewings of Comet 17P/Holmes.

    The comet is exploding and its coma, a cloud of gas and dust illuminated by the sun, has grown to be bigger than the planet Jupiter. The comet lacks the tail usually associated with such celestial bodies but can be seen in the northern sky, in the constellation Perseus, as a fuzzy spot of light about as bright as the stars in the Big Dipper.

    "This is truly a celestial surprise," Lewis said. "Absolutely amazing."

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071102/ap_on_sc/brighter_comet
     
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  3. Dark Knight

    Dark Knight New Member

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    It's been too cloudy here for me to check this out. Anyone else see it, yet?
     
  4. mostlylurking

    mostlylurking New Member

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    DK --
    I took my kids out to see it the night I saw your post. With binoculars it is really cool. To the naked eye it is really fuzzy, but findable.

    I am not a constellation master & I finally figured out to look for Pleiades first (the 7 sisters). Once I found that in the Eastern sky, I was able to sight left over to Perseus -- at about 10 o'clock.
     
  5. BarnGoddess

    BarnGoddess Former Member

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    I haven't gone out to look for it yet. I do remember driving down along the Florida Keys to look at Halley's comet. They called that the fuzzy tennis ball. I stopped where I saw a lot of parked cars and some very nice people let me and my elderly dad look through their telescopes. They were impressed that my dad had seen it 76 years before. Dad was in his late 80's then. I will go out soon and look for this comet. Ok, I live in E Colorado. Where do I look. The only constellations I can find and identify are the big and little dippers. I heard NE sky. Where do I look? We are out in the boonies and when there is no moon and a clear sky, we can see the milky way as clear as can be. I do have some binoculars to enhance the experience when I find it.
     
  6. Autumn2004

    Autumn2004 Inactive

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    Thanks :) I need to go out and look for it.
     
  7. Elphaba

    Elphaba Defying Gravity...

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    I did some tripod based shots of the area it is hanging out in (constellation of Perseus), last week, before it started showing its tail. In the telescope it has a gorgeous shimmering green shade:



    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    I have been looking for my t-ring that couples my cameras to my telescopes so I can do some direct scope shots of it. If all else fails I am going to run up to Damascus this weekend and buy one from the telescope shop, up there. Hopefully I'll be able to share some better images of the comet... more up-close and personal, soon. :)

    www.spaceweather.com has a gallery of comet shots... and more info as well.
     
  8. mostlylurking

    mostlylurking New Member

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    I'm in Northern New Mexico, so my description above should work for you, too. If you are standing outside facing due North, I think that looking about a third of the way up the sky & then to your right to about 1 oclock would put you in the right area. I was not familiar with Perseus as a constellation, which is really the specific location of this comet, but if you have a decent map to show you that in relation to the big dipper, you could track it that way, too.
     
  9. Taximom

    Taximom Former Member

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    Thanks, Elphaba! I know now I won't be able to find that as it looks like practically everything else up there!

    We've looked twice since you've posted this, DK, but it's been too cloudy. :(
     

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