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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 October 2007, 12:45 GMT
Comet phenomenon is spotted in UK
Holmes Comet
The earth in relation to the comet is 244 million km (151 614 570 miles) away
A Devon astronomer was able to track the unexpected brightness of a comet with a telescope in the Canary Islands.

Professor Tim Naylor from Exeter University saw Holmes Comet using the Isaac Newton Telescope at La Palma.

Professor Naylor said: "Comets are not normally my thing, so it was a challenge to observe something so bright with a large telescope."

The comet has brightened by a factor of a million and can now be seen across the UK with the naked eye.

Fuzzy object

On Monday the comet was a very faint object that needed a large telescope to see it, then on Tuesday night, Professor Naylor saw it suddenly become much brighter.

The comet is seen as a small fuzzy object as bright as a medium-brightness star in the constellation Perseus and can be viewed for the next few weeks.

Back in Exeter the professor said: "I walk out in to my back garden and my eight year old can see it.

"The best time is early evening before the moon comes up."

Astronomers believe a build-up of gas under part of the surface has ruptured it making it appear brighter but they are still studying it to find out the cause.



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