The Story of Comet Holmes
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. On the left image Comet Holmes (top middle) appear near the famous variable star Algol in Perseus on 2008 January 12, expanded to over one degree in the sky and still faintly visible to the naked eye nearly 3 months after its eruption. The left image is a 5-month attempt that follows development of comet Holmes after its stunning eruption as it moved around Perseus. The Pleiades appear at the bottom and the Double Star Cluster is at the top right. Move the slide on the image to see the labels and dates.