[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
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.

Clouds dash hope of Perseids show
13 Aug 04 |  Science/Nature
Meteor dazzles Indians
29 Sep 03 |  South Asia
Meteor shower proves damp squib
12 Aug 03 |  Europe

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific