Comet Holmes Bigger Than The Sun


Sunday, November 18th 2007, 6:03 pm
By: News On 6


GIANT COMET: University of Hawaii astronomers have measured the diameter of Comet 17P/Holmes: 1.4 million kilometers. This makes the exploding comet bigger than the sun and now the largest object in the solar system. Not surprisingly, the comet is visible to the naked eye; with only a backyard telescope you can watch its gigantic debris cloud expand from night to night. Nov. 19th is an especially good night to look: Comet Holmes will glide by Mirfak, the brightest star in the constellation Perseus, and appear to swallow it. Visit http://spaceweather.com for a sky map and images.

(Note: The sun remains by far the most massive object in the solar system. Comet 17P/Holmes' diaphanous atmosphere of dust and gas, which is what the astronomers measured, contains less mass than a typical asteroid. In spite of its great size, Comet Holmes is a lightweight that won't be deflecting the orbits of planets or causing any other such catastrophes.)