(National Science Foundation)
Comet Holmes underwent a dramatic burst two weeks ago, increasing its brightness some 1 million times and making it easy to see in the northern sky even from bright cityscapes. This image of the freshly expanding cloud of gas and dust around Comet 17P/Holmes was taken with the WIYN 0.9-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory on the night of Oct. 29, 2007. The image was taken by a group including a teacher and students from the observatory’s research-based science education program. With Saturday’s switch to standard time and the current waning moon, the comet, which orbits the Sun and is located in the constellation Perseus, and can be easily seen with unaided eyes during the long nights.
Credit: K. Garmany, T. Rutherford, V. Wynn, B. Redmon, WIYN, NOAO, AURA, and NSF
WIYN is owned and operated by the WIYN Consortium, which consists of the University of Wisconsin, Indiana University, Yale University, and the National Optical Astronomy Observatory. NOAO is the national center for ground-based nighttime astronomy in the United States and is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation.
This material is provided by the National Science Foundation, an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering, in partnership with U.S. News & World Report.