Comet 17P/Holmes - Late October - ? 2007

Comet 17P/Holmes burst forth on October 24, 2007. What started off as a 17th magnitude comet unviewable by all but the largest and most expensive telescopes had increased in brightness within 24 hours to magnitude 2.5 and easily visible to the naked eye. That is about a half a million factor increase in brightness. Since the 24th the comet continued to increase in brightness but has leveled off over the last several days. The size of the comet's coma (the area of dust/ice/gas surrounding the nucleus of the comet) continues to expand and is now 7 times larger than the planet Jupiter or 70% as large as the Sun. That makes Comet 17P/Holmes the second largest object in the solar system with only the sun being bigger. It occupies a space in our night sky of about 1/3 that of a full moon. The moon is about 240,000 miles away while the comet is 150,000,000 (150 Million Miles) away. The nucleus of the comet is only 2-4 miles in diameter. Astronomers theorize that the comet may be made up a bit like swiss cheese with big holes all throughout it. The theory is that a large hole caved in and exposed fresh ice, gas, and dust which immediately burst forth into what we have seen and continue to see. Here is where to look:

click for larger version

Here is video showing the growth of Comet 17p/Holmes .

Here are pictures of Comet 17P/Holmes from the last several days.

November 11, 2007. Comet 17p/Holmes continues to decrease in brightness and increase in size (although more and more slowly).

and a wider view

November 8, 2007. Comparison of the growth of Comet 17p/Holmes from October 24-November 8 as compared with the moon.

and showing the location, size, and comparitive brightness on sky using fisheye lens

November 2, 2007. Comparison of the growth of Comet 17p/Holmes from October 24-November 2 as compared with the moon.

October 29-30, 2007. Main picture was taken at 815pm CT (about an hour before the moon rise) and the picture from the 30th was at 4AM CT.

October 27, 2007 9:31PMCT. After a couple days of bad weather the comet has gotten much bigger and slightly brighter.

and from same day and time..a cropped down version to show the greenish hue surrounding the comet better.