Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Something did happen to comet Holmes in January ...

... even though it's controversial whether one can talk about an actual 2nd outburst: The light curve of Holmes' nucleus shows a spike after Jan. 25, and A. Peirera reported on the same day about "a small non-stellar central condensation" seen with several instruments. To him "for many weeks the coma has looked very uniform, with a flat brightness profile in the 5x22 monocular, so tonight it was quite a dramatic change". Exactly 4 months after the (main) outburst began, Holmes could still be seen with the naked eye under really good conditions; otherwise the comet has even become a tough object for good binoculars.

In other news even at 11 arc seconds experienced observers can still get a lot out of Mars while others recorded a radio storm from Jupiter. How the Peruvian impact crater formed last September is still mysterious - and the military part of the U.S. Navy vs. USA 193 operation is now "largely" over: Special teams that would have dealt with debris on the ground have been stood down, and the ships involved in the operation off Hawaii have returned to their normal business.

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