I just got an Astro Alert from Sky and Telescope stating that comet Holmes has brightened a million-fold and is naked eye visible from large cities. Some quotes:
"A distant comet that was as faint as magnitude 18 on October 20th has suddenly brightened by a millionfold, altering the naked-eye appearance of the constellation Perseus.
This startling outburst of Comet Holmes (17P) may be even stronger than the one that occurred 115 years ago, in November 1892, when the comet was first spotted by English amateur Edwin Holmes."
"Internet discussion groups came alive with the news. "To my amazement, 17P had brightened to naked-eye visibility," exclaimed Bob King when he spotted Comet Holmes shortly before dawn in Duluth, Minnesota. "What a sight!" he posted to the Comets Mailing List. Alan Hale of Cloudcroft, New Mexico, concurred. To Hale (well known as the codiscoverer of Comet Hale-Bopp) it appeared essentially starlike in a telescope until he switched to high power. "
"Then things only got better. As Earth continued to turn, nightfall arrived in Japan. "It is visible with naked eyes in a large city!" posted Seiichi Yoshida, who observed the comet from beside Tsurumi River in Yokohama. By 17:15 Universal Time he was describing Comet Holmes as magnitude 2."
"Comet expert Gary Kronk expects this object to remain bright and grow from a starlike point to several arcminutes across over the next few nights as it makes its way slowly westward across Perseus. Its position on October 25th (0h UT) is right ascension 3h 53m, declination +50.1° (equinox 2000), and by October 30th it will have moved only to 3h 48m, +50.4°. For those living in the Northern Hemisphere, Perseus is visible all night at this time of year."
If anyone gets any additional helpful info, please share it with the AAC Observers mailing list. Hope for clear skies soon. We should get some dark skies soon following Full Moon on 11/26.
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