Tuesday, October 30, 2007

20071029 - Brief Observation of 17/Holmes

20071029 - Brief Observation of 17/Holmes

A very short session looking through the living room window with Fujinon 7 x50 binoculars hanging from my neck and hands cupped to my eyes. Unaided I see the familiar tall right triangle with comet 17/P Holmes at its lower left base star. delta Per is the right angle to the west and Mirfak, at tip of the hypotenuse, is the northwestern acute angle.

The comet appears dimmer than delta Per. Like most we have watched it brightness increase Over the past few days but now it looks as if it is past peak and its brilliance diminishes gradually. The fainter appearance can be attributed to its growing size which could result in a lower surface brightness if its absolute magnitude doesn't change (if could say this for a non-stellar object such that it doesn't produce its own light)

In the 7x50 the comet head is large enough to easily discern a nucleus within the Coma. I don't see the off-centering of nucleus to the leading edge like I saw the night before. Nor can I see that tiny stellar point (or two) on the leading edge of the nucleus. On past observations, I felt that the nucleus had a fan-shape to its brightness with the stellar point just interior to a snub-nose point. Could be optical illusion but I can see the same detail in pictures. In the hand held bins I could not see this detail.

Still a remarkable sight to see. And as you're looking at it realize that it is Cosmic sibling of the Solar System.

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