I'm pretty certain we're no close relations to the 19th century English amateur astronomer, Edwin Holmes, who discovered that comet 115 years ago. Still, one can't help identifying, and it's nice, I think, that Kenny's first comet was one he shares a name with. It's my third or fourth, I believe. I was too young for Arend-Roland in 1957, and I don't think I saw Seki-Lines in 1962. I may have seen Ikeya-Seki in 1967, though I don't remember it clearly. I don't recall anything about Bennett in 1970 or West in 1976. (West should have been spectacular, and I as a high school junior interested in science really should have known about it and seen it, but I didn't; apparently it was very underpublicized after the 1973 Kohoutek fiasco, and maybe that accounts for it.) I did go looking once or twice for Halley in 1986 but with no success. So the first two comets I saw and remembered clearly were Hyakutake in 1996 and Hale-Bopp in 1997. McNaught earlier this year, of course, was too far south for me to have much of a chance at, and I didn't see it.
Holmes isn't as spectacular as those, but even in our less than ideal environment and with little time for dark adjustment Kenny and I could clearly see it as a faint spot off Perseus's shoulder. Through 7x50 binoculars it showed clearly as a big fuzzy round spot, in clear contrast to the pointlike stars around it.
I pointed out the Pleiades to Kenny, too, and then we went in. But in reading about Holmes's discovery of the comet while observing the Andromeda Galaxy, M31, I was reminded that I've never seen a galaxy beyond our own. Which is ridiculous: M31 is a full fledged spiral galaxy larger than our own, and practically next door; it's a naked eye object under the best conditions, and easily seen with binoculars, or so they tell us. I did go out looking for M31 a couple years ago but I guess I didn't have a good chart. Enough, I said tonight, and after Kenny went to bed I went back out with Stellarium running on my MacBook and pretty easily found it. A smudge, dimmer than Holmes in the binoculars and nothing I could see without them, but definitely there. So I have now (finally) seen light that's 2.5 million years old.