Comet 17P/Holmes underwent a massive outburst in October 2007, becoming almost a million times brighter and temporarily becoming the largest object in the Solar System. This is a collection of images and animations we produced using data obtained with the 3.6m Canada-France-Hawaii telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii.
(Left) Image of comet Holmes from the 3.6-meter Canada-France-Hawaii telescope on Mauna Kea showing the 1.4 million km diameter coma on November 9th, 2007. The white ''star'' near the center of the coma is in fact the dust-shrouded nucleus. (Right) the Sun and planet Saturn shown at the same scale for comparison. (Sun and Saturn images courtesy of ESA/NASA's SOHO and Voyager projects).
(Left) Image of comet Holmes from the 3.6-meter Canada-France-Hawaii telescope on Mauna Kea showing the large expanding dust coma. On the left, a 'raw' image is shown, in which the brightness reflects the distribution of dust in the coma of the comet (the nucleus is in the bright, point-like region to the upper left of center). On the right is shown the same image after application of the Laplacian spatial filter, to emphasize fine structures. The white/black circular objects are background stars enhanced by the Laplacian filter.
A merge of an original image of comet Holmes and a spatially-filtered image:
A time-lapse of comet Holmes evolving over the weeks following the outburst. The images are spatially-filtered to enhance small-scale structures within the dusty coma.