Edwin Holmes was doing some observing of the Andromeda Galaxy and discovered comet Holmes way back in 1892, you know the story, you find it, it gets named after you. Just last Tuesday it started getting very bright, like about 1 million times brighter! Scientists figure the only way it could have gotten that bright that fast is through a major out gassing and releasing major particles from its nucleus. I took the image above last night, it is at 400x you can see it's pretty weird shaped for a comet, round and all, and the comet nucleus a star like appearance in the middle, you can make out it's tail pointing away from the Sun. It will be visible to the naked eye for at least the next week. You can spot it in the NE sky after it gets dark. It is just to the west of the star Mirfak in the constellation Perseus. It is quite easy to find, looks like an orange yellow star. Check out Rick's Deep Sky Blog, he has an interesting post on the comet as well.
I took a pic of my set up last night. I had just taken some pics of the comet and was now taking some highly magnified images of Moon craters, in fact if you look at my sucky VISTA operated computer in the pod you can see the Moon being imaged. A real cool thing that happened to me, I submitted one of my photos of the comet to Sky and Telescope magazine's website, and it got chosen to be added to their photo section, not only in one of their regular categories, which is an honor in itself, but as an Editors Choice. Who knows for how long it will be there because they get billions of pictures everyday, and the Editors choice is for all the categories. I'm sure it will be around for a while in the Comet Holmes area.
So far so good for the Shuttle Discovery. Successful launch and they are now docked with the ISS. They have mounted a camera on a special boom extension and attached it to their robot arm and used it to examine the Shuttle's underside for damage. Apparently a piece of foam from the external fuel tank fell off and hit the Shuttle during the ascent stage. The preliminary findings are good, no damage. I am watching NASA TV right now, they are into their first spacewalk, actually they just finished stowing a broken space station antenna in the Shuttle's payload bay, they are now preparing the Harmony Node for installation. Speaking of which the above pic is of the Harmony Node in the Shuttle's payload bay.