Comet Holmes Glows Green

November 12, 2007

Comet_holmes_crop copy

Provided by: Greg Parker, University of Southampton, U.K.; Noel Carboni
Summary authors & editors: Greg Parker

The photo above shows an emerald glow surrounding the nucleus of Comet Holmes, as photographed on October 30 in the constellation of Perseus. It was taken from the New Forest Observatory in England. This peculiar comet suddenly increased in brightness from a magnitude 12 (telescopic target only) to a magnitude of almost 2 (easily visible with the unaided eye, even in urban areas). Astronomers believe it exploded as it moved away from the Sun, but if so, it's not known exactly what triggered the explosion. At its brightest, Comet Holmes was almost as bright as the brightest stars in Perseus.

Photo details: Sky 90 refractor at f#4.5 and an SXVF-M25C one-shot color camera, exposures of 130 subs at one minute per sub. Taken at the New Forest Observatory by Greg Parker and subsequently processed by Noel Carboni in the U.S. (Florida).