Tuesday, 30 October 2007

A great big snowball in the sky!

Jenny came home and insisted we go out more or less immediately to find somewhere dark and look at the sky, to see if we could see comet 17P/Holmes, and we could!

This photo is lifted straight from http://www.spaceweather.com/ because that link just takes you to the home page, and the content is bound to change. It was taken by
Laurent Laveder of Quimper, France and shows his daughter and stepdaughter pointing the comet out.

Apparently the comet exploded on 24th October, and it's now so big it's easily visible with the naked eye, though it lacks the exciting tail you'd normally associate with a comet.

Through some fairly ordinary binoculars it resolves into quite a big fuzzy blob to the left of Perseus.
As Jenny commented, she had Hale-Bopp for her 50th, and now this one for her 60th. Pretty good, we think!

It was good to find somewhere dark (thank god it wasn't cloudy!) and we could see the Milky Way quite well, but it did remind us just how polluted with light our night sky is.


ArcticFox said...

yes yes.... polluted indeed..... the perseids shower was quite good this year too..... and of course the lunar eclipse we had in March.....

It's been a funny old astronomical year!!

Maybe we are going to disappear up our own light polluted... well you know the rest!!


PS: Wish I had known about this earlier.... it's cloudy as hell at the minute here!!!!

Rob Clack said...

I'm really astronomically out of touch. I almost always miss the big meteor showers and only saw Holmes last night because Jenny was on the ball. Shame about the clouds.

A Mother's Place is in the Wrong said...

Hi Rob, fascinating comet stuff, and the squirrel mixture sounded delicious. Many thanks for your kind thoughts. I do go down to the sea for solace - and it does help! Regards, Margot.

DJ Kirkby said...


Rob Clack said...

I was interested in just how big this thing was, since it looked so big in the sky, and was astonished to find it's currently between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. To look so big from such an enormous distance it must be vast! Well, mostly a cloud of lumps of ice, I suppose, but a biiiiiig cloud!

headless chicken said...

Great photo. Meredic often has fab photos of his stargazing on his blog. Have a look if you haven't already!