Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2007 October 30
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Comet Holmes' Coma Expands
Credit & Copyright: Eric Allen Observatoire du Cégep de Trois-Rivières

Explanation: Go outside tonight and see Comet Holmes. No binoculars or telescopes are needed -- just curiosity and a sky map. Last week, Comet 17P/Holmes underwent an unusual outburst that vaulted it unexpectedly from obscurity into one of the brightest comets in recent years. Sky enthusiasts from the northern hemisphere have been following the comet's progress closely. Pictured above Quebec, Canada, the coma of Comet Holmes has been noticeably expanding over the past few days. In the above picture, an image of Jupiter has been placed artificially nearby to allow for a comparison of angular sizes. Jupiter has been scaled to the size it would appear at the current location of Comet Holmes. How Comet Holmes will further evolve is unknown, with one possibility being that the expanding gas cloud that started from its recent outburst will slowly disperse and fade.

Tomorrow's picture: astronomical holiday

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