Comet Erupts in Brilliant Show
What a fated day this has been. I had a topic I wanted to share in the Community Blog, and I come to find it has a Japanese relation!
From ScienceDaily [Boldness added for emphasis]:
A once-faint comet has made a sudden leap from obscurity to center stage. 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.
The comet could fade in a matter of days or weeks, so astronomers recommend that viewers take a look now.
Amateur astronomer Edwin Holmes, who was looking at the Andromeda galaxy at the time, discovered Comet Holmes in 1892. The comet has presented a mystery to astronomers ever since. It likely was undergoing a similar outburst when discovered, since it reached 4th magnitude and was faintly visible to the unaided eye.
The comet orbits the Sun once every 7 years at a distance of about 200 million miles (compared to Earth’s 93-million-mile orbit).
And from Sky and Telescope Magazine, here is our Japanese relation:
As Earth continued to turn, nightfall arrived in Japan. "It is visible with naked eyes in a large city!" posted Seiichi Yoshida, who observed the comet from beside Tsurumi River in Yokohama. By 17:15 Universal Time he was describing Comet Holmes as magnitude 2.8.
Essentially, Japan broke the news this morning that the comet is visible with the naked eye.
I asked our planetary expert who is a regular speaker on the morning radio show I am a part of, who first told me word of the comet just came in from Japan, if it would be visible with such a bright full moon. He says it may hurt viewing of the comet, but not by much, and 10:00 EST (not sure how or when it will appear in other parts of the hemisphere) is the best time to view it.
Keep your eyes on the skies Ani-Pock!