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Surprise! A Comet Outburst

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Surprise! Amateur Astronomers Report a Comet Outburst

You never know what a comet might do. Comet C/2012 X1 (LINEAR) has burst from 14th to 8th magnitude in the dawn sky.

Remember Comet Holmes? In 2007 it exploded from practically nothing to become a weird, slowly expanding, glowing ball easily visible to the naked eye for several weeks. It brightened by about 14.2 magnitudes: half a million times.

Now something similar, though less dramatic, has happened to Comet C/2012 X1 (LINEAR) in the pre-dawn sky. It has flared up by 6 magnitudes, or 250 times, to reach magnitude 8.

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