Outburst from Comet C/2012 X1 (LINEAR)

It has been reported in the last 24 hours that Comet C/2012 X1 has suddenly brightened by over 150 times from magnitude +14 to 8.5.  While other comets (looking at you ISON) have been taking most of the limelight recently, this comet has now moved itself within reach of binoculars from a dark sky site.

A similar but far more impressive outburst was seen with Comet Holmes in 2007 when it brightened by over 500,000 times over a 42 hour period from magnitude +17 to +2.8.

The comet is an early morning object located in Coma Berenices in the North East.  It is currently presenting a halo approximately 2-3 arcminutes across with a small bright core.  Currently between alpha and beta Coma Berenices, it is close to M64 (the Black Eye Galaxy) and might present a nice wide field photo opportunity.

The current celestial coordinates for those of you who would like to track it down are:

19 Oct 2013   RA: 12 59.54    DEC: 25 6.4

26 Oct 2013   RA: 13 17.05    DEC: 23 57.5

Assuming this outburst is sustained, that will bring to four the number of comets currently visible with a small aperture in our skies – ISON, short period Encke, Lovejoy and X1 LINEAR.

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