Sep 2, 2011

Comet Lulin Heading Our way For A Great Sky Show

Originally published: January 13 2009

I'm working on all the info for you but for now here's a sneaky peak. We are in for a treat next month as Comet Lulin is moving closer to Earth and will be visible to the naked eye. visible but not unless you have a telescope for now. Comet Lulin is actually moving in the opposite direction of the planets! Lulin, discovered in 2007, is swinging around the sun and approaching us. By late February it should be visible to the naked eye. This image, taken by an observatory in Malaysia, shows both the comet's tail and anti-tail (tail pointing toward the sun) click on photo for a closer look. comet Lulin is expected to brighten to naked-eye visibility, reaching a magnitude of six.

The comet is at present moving between the constellations Scorpio and Libra. Lulin is expected to head towards Leo at an accelerated pace late next month. The comet will pass 0.41 Astronomical Units from earth and reach its closest distance to Earth on February 24, about 14.5 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon. Lulin will be observable low in the sky in an east-southeast direction before dawn.On the night of February 23rd, near its peak brightness, Comet Lulin is passing 2° south-southwest of Saturn.Lulin’s closest approach to Earth, 0.41 a.u. (61 million km), occurs on February 24th, when the comet may reach a peak of magnitude 5.The discovery of Comet Lulin (C/2227 N3) was part of a major achievement made by the Lulin Sky Survey project to explore the various populations of small bodies in the solar system, especially objects that are a threat to Earth.So far Lulin is not.

Okay as I told you in my about me section I do comet tracking as a part of my astronomers job so I'm getting more info . On the 5th of February it should be easily seen in binoculars. It may even become detectable with the unaided eye in a dark, moonless sky. And here are printable maps to find the comet Jan. 1 – Feb. 14 - Feb. 13 – Mar. 2 - Mar. 1 – Mar. 20 - Mar. 14 – May 1 As of January 7th Lulin did have an antitail, as shown in this image taken by Karzaman Ahmad in Malaysia with a 20-inch scope . Here's another image, from Ernesto Guido, Giovanni Sostero and Paul Camilleri, taken January 8th. Here's a photo gallery of more.

Here Are the orbital dynamics and and here's an ephemeris

I will be posting sky-maps and observing info for everyone. Eevn though it's just a telescopic comet now, if observe the comet send in your observations or pictured you take ,i'll add it here for everyone to see and share.