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Astro Bob blog: Comet Finlay outburst another present under the Christmas tree

Morphing from obscurity to prominence, Comet 15P/Finlay shows off a beautiful finger-shaped tail, a bright nucleus and several rays in this photo taken December 19th. It orbits the Sun every 6.5 years. Credit: Damian Peach

Surprise! An obscure comet that only amateur astronomers would pay attention to experienced a sudden outburst in brightness earlier this week putting it within range of telescopes as small as 4.5 inches.