Well the skies have cleared at last, so I went outside for a little while to snap some pictures of 17P Holmes, which a few days ago recently brightened by a factor of a million becoming a magnitude 3 object.

Comet 17P Holmes

First up, the view through the telescope. This was taken with the camera at prime focus of my TAL 2M reflector (effective focal length 1200mm) for 10 seconds at ISO 1600.

Comet 17P Holmes, Andromedia Galaxy, Pleiades and the Moon

This was taken with the 18mm lens for 30 seconds at ISO 800. The Moon is in the lower-right, the Pleiades slightly to the right and above, Perseus and 17P Holmes centred, with the Andromeda Galaxy being the faint smudgy looking star at the very top right, although difficult to see in this scaled down image.

Perseus and Comet 17P Holmes

This was taken with the 55mm lens for 30 seconds at ISO 800, by this time the clouds were already starting to roll in. The original resolution area around the comet is included in the bottom right of the image.

The angular size of this comet is absolutely huge, by my rough estimates it's somewhere between a 3rd and a 5th the diametre of the full Moon. It's 1.6 times further away than the Sun is, and even at that distance it makes planets look tiny. This is one major outburst.

Below is an image of Saturn, 17P Holmes and the Moon, these were all taken at prime focus of my reflector, this really gives you a sense of scale. This features a 30 second exposure of 17P Holmes set at ISO 1600, to try and bring out the maximum extent of the comet.

Saturn, Comet 17P Holmes and the Moon to scale

High resolution versions are available on my gallery.