Two days ago Comet 17P/Holmes was an insignificant piece of ice barely visible in amateur telescopes under dark skies.
Yesterday all that changed . If you have a clear sky, take a look in the constellation Perseus, there you will find an extra “fuzzy star” – visible to the unaided eye. With a visual magnitude og between 2.5 and 3 it should be about as strong as the stars in the “Big Dipper”, “The Plough”, “The big Wagon” or whatever you may call the most well known constellation in the Northern sky. The increase in brightness is about a million times in about 24 hours – quite amazing.
Take a look at Spaceweather.com for more information – and a star map to find the comet, and Cometography for a bit of history of this comet.
Stop Press: Latest estimates are now magnitude 2 …. even brighter … so the outburst is still in progress.
Here’s hoping for a little clear sky at my place i The Netherlands …
Good luck with comet hunting.