Is Comet Holmes fading?

It was clear last night for the first time since we observed with the telescopes (a previous article on this blog). I went out with binoculars wondering if there would still be enough left of the comet to find it with such small optics (7×50). Perseus was high overhead, and the comet was only a few degrees from the zenith. I didn’t need the binoculars. It was an easy naked-eye object. The Milky Way flows through Perseus, and the comet looks as if a patch of it has broken off and drifted southward. No, it is not brilliant or dramatic, but it is amazing to see something that looks larger than the sun in the sky and is also over 1.7 times farther away than the Sun. When I look at it, and think about the size of the explosion that produced that comet, I understand that I am seeing one of the most startling astronomical events of my life. Star Maps of the sky for December, including the path of the comet, are here.

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