ALL-SKY CAMERAS DETECTION AND TELESCOPE FOLLOW-UP OF THE 17P/HOLMES
J. M. Trigo-Rodríguez1,2, B. Davidsson3, P. Montañés-Rodríguez4, A. Sánchez5, and Blanca Troughton6.
1Institute of Space Sciences (CSIC). Campus UAB, Facultat de Ciències, Torre C5-2ª planta. 08193 Bellaterra,
Spain; 2Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya. Gran Capità 2-4, Ed. Nexus. 08034 Barcelona, Spain; 3 Depart-
ment of Physics and Astronomy, Uppsala University, Box 515, SE-75120, Uppsala, Sweden; 4 Instituto de As-
trofísica de Canarias; 5 Gualba Observatory, Barcelona, Spain; 5 Gualba Observatory, Barcelona, Spain; 6 Sociedad
Malagueña de Astronomía (SMA), Málaga, Spain.
Introduction: Cometary outbursts are not com-
pletely understood. We have performed a continuous
coverage of the recent 17P/Holmes outburst in order to learn
more about the processes that generate an outburst of this
magnificence. During the last 6 years we have also moni-
tored the comet 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 1 that is usu-
ally considered the archetype of comets exhibiting unusual
changes in their coma appearance and brightness .
The role of crystallization of water ice as a driver of
cometary outbursts was pointed out previously by several
authors [2, 3]. The absence of splitting in comets 29P and
17P is suggesting that this mechanism would be very effi-
cient. Due to the energy driven by explosive activity µm-
sized grains are able to leave the surface forming a typical
fan, that is detectable even by using medium telescopes (Fig.
2). The brightness of the coma during the massive release of
dust, and gas increases significantly.
As part of the continuous monitoring program of
the night sky performed by the all-sky CCD cameras
of the Spanish Meteor and Fireball Network (SPMN)
we detected the increase in magnitude of comet
17P/Holmes. SPMN all-sky cameras are reaching a
limiting stellar magnitude of +10 in the zenith, and are
excellent instruments for detecting unexpected bursts
in the magnitude of astronom