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  Summary: Comet 17P/Holmes shocked astronomers on Oct. 24, 2007, with a spectacular eruption. In less than 24 hours, the 17th magnitude comet brightened by a factor of nearly a million, becoming a naked-eye object in the evening sky. By mid-November the expanding comet was the largest object in the solar system--bigger even than the Sun. Since then, the comet has faded back to invisibility. A leading model of the blast posits a deep cavern of ice changing phase, from amorphous to crystalline, releasing in transition enough heat to cause Holmes to blow its top. The comet probably contains many such caverns so, one day, it could happen again. [ephemeris] [3D orbit]
  Photographer, Location Images Comments

Paolo Berardi,
L'Aquila, Italy
Nov. 8, 2007

Does the comet lose the tail? Last night I recorded this image showing a big disconnection in ion tail. No similar event I observed before november 8. Image taken through Miniborg 45 refractor and Starlight Xpress SXV-H9 CCD camera.

Jack Newton,
Arizona Sky Village near Portal Az.
Nov. 9, 2007

The comet has a huge eruption moving along it's tail. Holmes is more bizarre with each passing day. I used a Borg telescope 101mm at f4, on a Meade MaxMount RCX400 20". Canon XT modified cooled by Central DS. 12 two minute exp, 1600 ISO.

Lauri Kangas,
Caledon, Ontario, Canada
Nov. 6, 2007
#1, more

The weather has finally thwarted my efforts to add another pearl to the composite image of Comet 17P/Holmes which I refer to as the "String of Pearls". The images were taken between October 29th and November 6th and show the growth of the expanding coma. I used the same settings on a DSLR and 4" Apo refractor in each photo to keep the comparison accurate. Each photo was aligned so the stars matched up and then the layers were blended. November in Southern Ontario is almost always overcast and getting clear opportunities six nights in a row to photograph the comet was unbelievable. I did have to cope with blustery winds and wet snow on the last two nights, but the brief clearings were worth it.

Sean Walker,
MASIL Observatory East Chester, NH
Nov. 8, 2007

Now that the Moon is out of the way, deep exposures are possible. Here is my result using a 108mm Faworski astrograph and ST-10XE CCD camera.

Babak Tafreshi,
Tehran, Iran
Nov. 9, 2007
#1, more

Passing by bright star Alpha-Persei (Mirphak, comet Holmes is starting a new show in night sky. From Nov. 15 to 23 the comet will be less than a degree from Mirphak, close enough to be seen nicely together in a wide telescopic field. Holmes will reach minimum seperation of 17 arc minutes from the star on Nov. 19, when part of the comet's tail and dim outer halo will amazingly shade the star.

P-M Hedén,
Vallentuna, Sweden
Nov. 7, 2007
#1, more

I went up in the middle of the night when I saw clear skies and tried to capture Holmes tail with a 45min exposure. Even in lightpolluted skies it´s possible to capture some of the tail. Photo captured with a Orion 80ED and a Canon Digital Rebel XT.

B Yen,
Hungry Valley, CA (USA)
Nov. 7, 2007
#1, #2, #3, more

Dark skies at Hungry Valley, CA. Comet is very noticeable as a fuzzball naked-eye, in 10x50 binoculars ion tail is barely detectable

Mike Broussard,
Maurice, LA, USA
Nov. 9, 2007
#1, more

Comet Holmes taken simultaneously with a DSI Pro camera and a modified Canon DSLR on Nov 9th, 2007 04:22 UT. A tail disconnection event was in progress. Main image was 13x180 sec @ ISO 1600 with a 400mm F/6 APO. Top inset image was with an 8" F/4 Newtonian and a DSI Pro. Bottom inset image is a negative view of the main image contrast enhanced to show the disconnection event better.

more images (Nov. 8-9): from Mohammad Javad Fahimi of Kerman, Iran; from John S. Gianforte of Durham, New Hampshire; from Ladislav Nemec of Big Bear City, CA;

more images (Nov. 6-7): from Tyler Allred of Tremonton, Utah; from Sangku Kim of Kangwongdo, South Korea; from Jonas Förste of Jakobstad, Finland;

more images (Nov. 5): from Roman Piffl of Marianka, Slovakia;