Mount Palomar, California (IPP) - Astronomers have discovered a bright new comet which is being described as "not-so-new" after all.
The comet was discovered in the constellation Ursa Major by the automated array system operating under very dark skies in Arizona. Information on the comet was immediately sent to the Mount Palomar Astronomy Campus via telegram. The comet is estimated to be magnitude 6.9 which is just under the threshold for observation from dark sky sights by experienced naked eye observers with good peripheral vision techniques.
The incredible part of this story is that this is actually none other than Comet Halley making an early return now rather than in 2061 as had been expected by astronomers.
Astronomers estimate that during this apparition that the comet Halley will glow at a magnitude of negative 28 which is brighter than the sun and will cause severe sunburn or "comet burn" to anyone foolish enough to allow their unprotected skin to be exposed to its brilliant rays.
It is ironic that rather than use time exposure techniques to capture the comet's image on film that astronomers will now have to use filters to dim the comet's light so that it will not over expose the fim used to obtain photos of this comet's untimely return.