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Comet Holmes loses its tail November 11, 2007

Posted by dorigo in astronomy, news, personal, science.

In the picture below (whose origin is unfortunately unknown to me)  you can clearly see the disconnection from the coma of the faint tail that 17P/Holmes had developed last week.

I was amazed to be able of actually seeing the tail from downtown Venice (the terrace atop my apartment) with 25×100 binoculars. But I did not see the disconnection! The tail was quite faint and I could only detect it with averted vision and by moving the field of view around…



1. Amara - November 11, 2007

Any CMEs passing through the area?

2. dorigo - November 11, 2007

Hi Amara,

I have no idea. I suspect the fragmentation is rather due to the same dynamics that caused the explosion in the first place – at least, it is an economical hypothesis.


3. helen soderberg - November 12, 2007

dorigo i know you as tonno on pogo bridge, i am called fyzzeo and my regular p is frprncss who played with you and had a huge interst in science , i know she rently poof read some stuff re english for you, please call me at 630 886 1474 or email me at ypareht_1@yahoo.com I live in Naperville illinois, she read your bolg and communicated with you she was extreemly sick and was estranged from her family, I would like to tell you about her life and death and ask you to write something nice that i could share with her family, I was her best friend and she had told me you palanned to visit next time you were at ferme lab, she had a brillaint brain her story is so sad but you gave her so much pleasure

4. Tony Smith - November 12, 2007

As to Amara’s question about CMEs, according to an itwire.com web article:

“… Blue tail of Comet Holmes breaks off from green nucleus
… By William Atkins Sunday, 11 November 2007
On about November 8-9, 2007, the blue-colored gaseous tail of Comet 17P/Homes broke away from its greenish dense nucleus. Astronomers observed through telescopes with large time exposures what they called a “big disconnection event.” They saw the tail separate from the nucleus (head) of the comet. The astronomers stated that gusts of solar wind from large magnetic storms in the vicinity of the comet most likely caused the disconnect. …”.

The itwire.com article has a link to some images and refers to “Paolo Berardi”, and shows it sitting on top of an earlier (4 Nov 2007) image by Ivan Eder taken near Budapest.

Tony Smith

5. Maynard Pittendreigh - November 12, 2007

That is a great photo. I missed it tonight due to weather. I’ve got several observations recorded at http://myquestar.blogspot.com/

6. Just lost a friend « A Quantum Diaries Survivor - November 12, 2007

[…] web – and only there, unfortunately. Nonetheless, I felt really saddened this morning, upon reading this comment by her best friend, which informed me of her death. Riqie Arneberg, as some of the most faithful readers here know, […]

7. dorigo - November 12, 2007

Hi Tony,

thank you for the information, as always you are a very informed source…


8. Amara - November 12, 2007

Thanks, Tony. Yes, “gusts of solar wind from large magnetic storms ” is either a CME or something similar. Neat! Isn’t the universe a splendid place? 🙂

9. chimpanzee - November 14, 2007

I’m blogging from Jamau/Baja Mexico
[ I’m here for the 40th anniversary of the Baja 1000..many international racers are here like Armin Schwarz from Germany. ]

I’ve been <a href=”photographing Comet Holmes for 2 nights (11/12 & 11/13), & the wildly dynamic ion tail seems to have disappeared. My 8″ f1.5 Schmidt-Camera might have picked up something, but I have to develop the film once I get back home.

There are many Italian-Americans who are racing the Trophy Truck class: Arciero (famous name of Indy 500 fame), Scaroni. You can see videos of them here.

10. chimpanzee - November 14, 2007

I fouled up the comet photo link in the above post, it’s here

11. chimpanzee - November 15, 2007

I’m blogging from Anza Borrego (Arroya Salado, in a sand wash) east of San Diego, using my mobile satellite-DSL. I drove back from Baja (Jamau), & stopped here on the way back to Los Angeles.

The comet has lost it’s wildly dynamic ion tail, but its coma has increased noticeably from last week. In 10×50 binoculars, you can see this big fuzzball & discern the nucleus (!). More photos here

Saw a really nice Leonid meteor (mag 1) which left a persistent trail. This is sign of activity for the upcoming Leonid Meteor Shower which peaks in a few days.

12. dorigo - November 16, 2007

Wow, chimpanzee, really an astronomer hitting the road!
Thank you for your reports and your very good pictures. Keep us posted!

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