Normally on the third quarter moon weekend, you don't find the Sidewalk
Astronomers setting up. There will be no moon in the early evening.
But the sky gave us a big surprise late in October.
Normally extremely faint, comet 17P/Holmes had an outburst that made it
a million times brighter -- bright enough that we can see it from
downtown Monrovia without a telescope!
Over the past couple of weeks, amateurs and professionals alike have
been watching the comet's coma, the glowing cloud of dust that surrounds
it, grow in apparent size.
It's a fun object to see in a telescope, and we invite you to join us
this Saturday evening in Old Town Monrovia to do exactly that. We'll be
in our usual spot, at the corner of Myrtle & Lime, from 7:30 'til 9:30 p.m.
Because the comet is fairly far to the north in the sky, whereas the
moon and planets are usually found to the south, we'll have to move a
little up the walk towards the Mark Twain statue to get a clear view
without a tree in the way.
Right now the weather forecast looks good for Saturday night. I'll send
a follow-up note if that changes.
More about the comet and links to other pictures can be found on JPL's
web site here: <http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/features.cfm?feature=1514>
Old Town Astronomers http://www.otastro.org