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New Naked Eye Comet - 17/P Holmes

  • paulevans
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16 years 7 months ago #53212 by paulevans
Replied by paulevans on topic Re: New Naked Eye Comet - 17/P Holmes
Just as an aside on this I had a weird dream concerning this comet - a group of us were observing it and speculating as to the lack of a tail when one of us started screaming at the top of his voice "Don't you get it?? That's what a Comet looks like from the front - It's coming straight at us!!"

Then I woke up :-)

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16 years 7 months ago #53213 by Paul Tipper
Replied by Paul Tipper on topic Re: New Naked Eye Comet - 17/P Holmes

Just as an aside on this I had a weird dream concerning this comet - a group of us were observing it and speculating as to the lack of a tail when one of us started screaming at the top of his voice "Don't you get it?? That's what a Comet looks like from the front - It's coming straight at us!!"

Then I woke up :-)


Actually, there is a grain of truth in this - according to my edition of Starry Night Enthusiast, Holmes 17P is currenty close to opposition w.r.t. the Earth, so the tail should be be streaming directly away from us, which would explain why we only see a circular and no tail as such - perhaps it's hidden behind the coma/nucleus. Of course, the comet is definitely not heading towards us, but it's appearance is as it would be if it was.

Paul Tipper,
South Dublin Astro. Soc.

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16 years 7 months ago #53215 by dave_lillis
Replied by dave_lillis on topic Re: New Naked Eye Comet - 17/P Holmes
Frank and I headed to Doonbeg in Clare last night, a fantastic site illuminated only by the moon.

We had a good look at this comet through the 20", there is definitely a steller like nucleus with a fan shaped wedge mini tail completely contained within the coma, the coma had a very definite outline with one side of it been definitely fuzzier then the other, the side with the mini tail, maybe this is the starts of a dust tail emerging ? this thing really looks like it is heading towards us :lol:
To me, the outer area of the coma looks a little more intense then the area of the coma halfways between the centre and the edge, almost like a shock wave.
I reckon that given the illumination range of this thing, it will be difficult to get an image that represents the visual view through a scope.

Dave L. on facebook , See my images in flickr
Chairman. Shannonside Astronomy Club (Limerick)

Carrying around my 20" obsession is going to kill me,
but what a way to go. :)
+ 12"LX200, MK67, Meade2045, 4"refractor

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16 years 7 months ago #53217 by DeirdreKelleghan
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Here is all I got from last night 21:50 UT/FL1200/10mm/120X
I had barlows at the ready to get in closer but fast thick cloud took any more viewing away for the rest of the evening.

I had no time to see and place in any other stars in the FOV :-(

Very bright point like nucleus, very circular coma, and yes a delta or fan shape within. I had the same thought, that the tail was perhaps on the side away from the Earth, and that it is much wider than the comet itself.
Or that there is no tail yet and the material is jetting out evenly from the whole comet in a massive outburst. Perhaps this material will form a tail when it is finished flying out in an even way?
Or the tail is cone shaped and is on this side of the comet, and very wide ?

Deirdre Kelleghan
Irish Astronomical Society

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16 years 7 months ago #53219 by dave_lillis
Replied by dave_lillis on topic Re: New Naked Eye Comet - 17/P Holmes
My thoughts also Deirdre.
I had a look in starrynight for this comet, it is moving very slowly and is sitting between Mars and Jupiter and is not getting nearer to the Sun. With a coma that big, there just has to be a tail behind it, we are currently between it and the sun, so the tail must be pointing away from us, behind the nucleus.

Deirdre, how sensitive are the cameras on Cassini in orbit of Saturn, looking at starrynight, Saturn has an almost perfect side on view of this comet, I'd bet a side on image of this comet would show a nice big tail.

Dave L. on facebook , See my images in flickr
Chairman. Shannonside Astronomy Club (Limerick)

Carrying around my 20" obsession is going to kill me,
but what a way to go. :)
+ 12"LX200, MK67, Meade2045, 4"refractor

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16 years 7 months ago #53220 by Seanie_Morris
Replied by Seanie_Morris on topic Re: New Naked Eye Comet - 17/P Holmes

this thing really looks like it is heading towards us :lol:


My thoughts as well (was about to double post that until I saw your words Dave!). It is a slow moving comet, but after over a day since the outburst, you would expect to see some sort of trail.

Seanie.

Midlands Astronomy Club.
Radio Presenter (Midlands 103), Space Enthusiast, Astronomy Outreach Co-ordinator.
Former IFAS Chairperson and Secretary.

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