17P/Holmes continues the show November 8, 2007Posted by dorigo in astronomy, Blogroll, books, news, physics.
Below is a picture of the surprising Holmes comet taken on November 5th by Bob Yen, a contributor to the comment threads of this and other physics blogs around (more of his photos here). As you can see, the comet has developed a faint, diffuse tail, and its coma is continuing to expand at a rate of about 2km/second. It is easy to detect the increase in size by comparing its appearance with that of just one week ago, even with no optical instrument. It now is a distinct “fuzzball” in Perseus, while earlier it looked much more star-like.
Comets are really among the coolest objects of our solar system… Unpredictable and always really beautiful objects. And they bring us some of the most spectacular meteor showers every now and then! I wonder if the outburst of Holmes will produce some meteor shower. It depends on the comet’s orbit… Hmmm I think I know where to look: Peter Jenniskens’ book. I will give it a try.