View Full Version : Mini Comets Ejected from Comet Holmes Caused Outburst

2009-Sep-16, 12:10 AM
Comet 17P/Holmes caused a sensation in October and November 2007 when overnight, it brightened enough to be visible with the naked eye and became the largest cometary outburst ever witnessed. Using a special filter on the Canada- France- Hawaii Telescope in Hawaii, astronomers were able to peer inside Comet Holmes to determine why the comet [...]

More... (http://www.universetoday.com/2009/09/15/mini-comets-ejected-from-comet-holmes-caused-outburst/)

2009-Sep-16, 02:38 PM
Isn't that cool? :)

Short and sweet article. (http://news.yahoo.com/s/space/20090916/sc_space/cometoutburstspawnsminicomets)

A comet recently spewed out a cluster of mini comets in a huge outburst that was the largest ever witnessed by astronomers.

They found numerous tiny objects that moved away from the nucleus at speeds of up to 280 mph (125 meters per second). These objects were too bright to simply be bare rocks, but instead were more like mini comets, creating their own dust clouds as ice on their surfaces sublimated directly to vapor.

Even after ejecting mini comets, the solid nucleus of comet Holmes survived and continued on its orbit, seemingly unperturbed.

2009-Sep-16, 02:46 PM
Makes me wonder what the effect of that sort of event would have been on the people of the Earth, before they knew what comets were.

Especially if the event happened while the comet was close to our planet. It would have looked far bigger than the sun.

One night, nothing. The next night, a giant glowing ball of light bigger than the sun in the sky.

2009-Sep-16, 02:56 PM
Yeah. We can easily take for granted an explanation, or a good theory. No wonder eclipses and etc. freaked people out "back then."

2009-Sep-16, 04:19 PM
OMG! I didn't think of that. Imagine the comet is close to the sun when it blows up all huge. So it can't be seen. Then an eclipse happens! A total eclipse.

Suddenly, in daytime, the sky turns dark, and not only is the sun gone, this giant other object the size of the sun, glowing ghostly white, appears in the sky.