Exploding Comet You Can See--and Photograph

Amateur astro-photographers have a chance right now to see and photograph something very rare--an exploding comet. The comet 17P/Holmes is exploding, and its cloud of gas and dust, illuminated by the sun, is bigger than the planet Jupiter. Indeed, the comet is now visible to the naked eye in the northern sky in comet in the constellation Perseus. Without a telescope, it looks like a fuzzy star. The photos here are credited to Scott M. Lieberman/AP, and they were taken over the course of 48 hours

Amateur astro-photographers have a chance right now to see and photograph something very rare--an exploding comet. The comet 17P/Holmes is exploding, and its cloud of gas and dust, illuminated by the sun, is bigger than the planet Jupiter. Indeed, the comet is now visible to the naked eye in the northern sky in comet in the constellation Perseus. Without a telescope, it looks like a fuzzy star. The photos here are credited to Scott M. Lieberman/AP, and they were taken over the course of 48 hours, from October 27 (left) to October 29 (right). Scientists speculate that the comet is exploding because its honeycomb structure is exposing embedded ice to the sun. The ice is turning into a gas, causing the entire comet to burst. Go here for full story. Maybe we should have a contest for the best photo of 17P/Holmes. Get out your telescopes.
--David Schonauer