Thursday, November 01, 2007
A week after I first posted the story of Comet Holmes, I finally managed to spot the bright comet at 3am this morning. It's surreal. I was in my room listening to the live commentary of the Spurs - Blackpool game on BBC London while I was sitting on my bed and looking out of the window - and there was the comet! That was definitely the first time I spotted a comet with the naked eye in the comforts of my room (and on my bed!).
I've been trying to spot Comet Holmes over the past week or so but I failed because of the bad weather. This morning at 3 o'clock, it was fairly clear so I decided to give it a go. The star Capella was shining brightly in the constellation Auriga and the Moon, Castor and Pollux (the two brightest stars of Gemini) and planet Mars were quite a stunning sight towards the east. There were still clouds moving around so no sight of the Perseus constellation yet but when the clouds did clear, I finally could spot Algol and Alpha Persei, the two brightest stars in Perseus. There's my chance. And to my surprise, there was another bright star-like object near the location where the comet should be. It's Comet Holmes!
Comet Holmes is bright - no doubt about that. I can see it with the naked eye from my room for goodness sake! I estimate that the comet is roughly at magnitude 2.5. The only other stars in Perseus brighter that it are Algol and Alpha Persei. It does look a little diffuse - wasn't much like a starlike object that many reported a week ago.
I wrote in my post last week that spotting Comet Holmes should be easy but I guess one needs to know a bit of the constellations in order to spot it. To find it, you can use the Interactive Sky Chart provided by Sky and Telescope. It now plots the location of the comet automatically. Comet Holmes should be shining brightly over the next week or so. I'll update again if there's any change in brightness. I can't wait to point my telescopes at it.
Previously: Comet erupts, now visible as bright star!
Posted by I.Z. Reloaded at 2:15 PM
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