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Exploding Comet 17P/Holmes | One Bad Pixel
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Exploding Comet 17P/Holmes

University of Tennessee Astronomy Outreach director Paul Lewis reports that Comet 17P/Holmes unexpectedly grew recently, to a size larger than the planet Jupiter which means means it can now be seen by the naked eye.

Comet 17P/Holmes is in the constellation Perseus and it looks like a fuzzy bright spot, about as bright as the stars in the Big Dipper. To view it, look to the North after dark.

Lewis, among other scientists, speculate the comet grew in size because of sinkholes in its center, or nucleus. The sinkholes created a honey-comb like structure in the center of the comet which eventually collapsed on itself. The collapse exposed the comet’s ice to the sun which turned it into the visible gas.

 

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