Comet Holmes over Lut Desert
A dark starry night in the Lut Desert, southeast Iran. Stars in Persues and Taurus appear over a thousand-years old tower in this remote desert. The diffuse object above the bright star Alpha Persei (Mirfak) is Comet Holmes, during its outstanding eruption in 2007. Comet 17P/Holmes surprised astronomers and stargazers around the world when it increased in brightness over half a million times in a matter of hours (2007 October 24). The outburst transformed it from an obscure and faint comet quietly orbiting the Sun with a period of about 7 years to a naked-eye object rivaling the brighter stars in the constellation Perseus.