Astronomers from Europe and Asia are reporting that the normally dim Comet 17P/Holmes has had an eruption. Instead of being 17th magnitude – only visible to powerful telescopes – it’s now 3rd magnitude. This makes it easy to spot with the unaided eye, even in cities with heavy light pollution.
To confirm this discovery, head outside after the skies are dark, and look to the Northeast. The comet is currently in the constellation Perseus, which is below the more familiar Cassiopeia. If you’re familiar with the constellations at all, you’ll now see a new, bright yellow star. A telescope reveals the fuzzy corona surrounding the comet.
One report from Japan says, “Perseus does not look ‘Perseus’ familiar to us due to the bright stellar object now.”
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Thanks to BAUT member Keith G for the photograph. Here’s a link to the forum where people are discussing it.