Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Better than TV – Comet Holmes

Despite the fact that I’m often glued to the TV, there are things that sometime pull me away. I enjoy astronomy – I imagine it to be television for people who lived BEFORE television.

The comet was discovered by British amateur astronomer Edwin Holmes on November 6, 1892. (See? In the day before television!) In October of 2007, this comet went from a magnitude 17 to 2.5 in less than 48 hours. (The magnitude measures brightness; the lower the number, the brighter the object.) The angle of the comet, seemingly directly opposite earth, makes it look less like the traditional comet (where a tail is visible) and more like a faint, fuzzy ball of light.

Right now, Comet Holmes can be seen in the northeastern sky in the early evening. Sky charts can be found on line at Sky and Telescope. If you are lucky enough to have clear skies in the evening, take the time to take a look at this celestial event. You can see it very well with binoculars, so you don’t need a fancy telescope. Trust me, I have a fancy telescope and it took me less time and efoort to find it with binoculars.

Step away from the TV and, as a certain daytime show says, “take some time to enjoy the view.”

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