Earth Changes TV/Breaking News - Comet Shows Surprise Outburst
- Comet Shows Surprise Outburst...01/31/02
by Mitch Battros (ECTV)
This just in from Sky & Telescope. Comet Linear - C/2000 WM1, as of today, is visible by the naked eye. Unusual behavior
had been reported several days earlier by astronomer Andrew Pearce of Nedlands, Western Australia. Then a surprise
outburst as reported by astronomer Greg Bryant of Sydney, Australia caught many off guard.
Comet Linear - C/2000 WM1 in Outburst (01/31/02)
Roger W. Sinnott - Sky & Telescope
Greg Bryant of Sydney, Australia, reports that this comet appears to be undergoing an outburst. On the morning of January 30th, the comet was visible to the naked eye despite the presence of a very bright gibbous Moon.
Unusual behavior had been noticed several days earlier by by Andrew Pearce of Nedlands, Western Australia. In 20 x 80 binoculars, Pearce found the comet to be magnitude 4.6 on January 28th (local date) even though it had been only 6.2 the previous morning (four times fainter). His reports are posted on JPL's Comet Observation Page
Comet Photos: http://encke.jpl.nasa.gov
On January 30th, Michael Mattiazzo of Wallaroo, South Australia, told members of the Minor Planet Mailing List (MPML) that the comet looked "virtually starlike to the eye, but 25 x 100mm binoculars reveal two bright jets emanating from opposite poles of the nucleus." He put its magnitude at 3.0, slightly brighter than the star Phi Sagittarii.
The comet is not currently visible from the Northern Hemisphere. But viewing prospects will continue to improve for observers south of the equator. For example, as seen from latitude 35 degrees south, here is the comet's altitude at the start of morning twilight and the phase of the Moon (when up) on selected dates:
Thought For The Day
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