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Comet Holmes bigger than the sun

sm62704 (957197) writes | more than 6 years ago

Space 0

mcgrew (sm62704) writes "I have NASA's "Image of the DAY" loaded up in iGoogle, and was astounded that the caption to today's astronomy image of the comet says that

The spherical coma of Comet Holmes has swollen to a diameter of over 1.4 million kilometers, making the tenuous, dusty cloud even bigger than the Sun. Scattering sunlight, all that dust and gas came from the comet's remarkably active nucleus, whose diameter before the late October outburst was estimated to be a mere 3.4 kilometers. In this sharp image, recorded on November 14 with the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, stars are easily visible right through the outer coma, while the nucleus is buried inside the condensed, bright region. The bright region of the coma seems offset from the center, consistent with the idea that a large fragment drifted away from the nucleus and disintegrated, producing the comet's spectacular outburst.
The comet's nucleus, of course, isn't anywhere near the sun's size; Wikipedia has a very good image gallery of Holmes and animations of its motions.

NASA's Image of the Day can be found here."

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