Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Comet 17P/Holmes

Back in November, I was in Ecuador, in the western Andes, and during a rare clear night I saw and sketched Comet Holmes which was bright and large in Perseus at the time. When I first saw it I knew it was a comet, there being no deep sky objects quite that big and bright in that area, but not which one and next time I was in Quito I went onto the net and found out the name and designation. During the time it was visible, Holmes brightened by a factor of 1 million and put on a spectacular show.
I made a rudimentary sketch, reproduced below (click on picture for larger version). The observation was made with the naked eye and my 8x42 binoculars.

I also saw Holmes from the Amazon jungle. From both the jungle and the mountains, with no light pollution it was spectacular. I didn't get back to the UK until late December and subsequently got no further opportunity to look at this comet.