The Half-Astrophysicist Blog

Comet Lulin Observing Report and Update

Well, it was finally nice and clear here in Tucson.  I drove out to Saguaro National Park east (at the end of Speedway for those of you who know Tucson).  Comet Lulin was visible naked eye as a small splotch.  And here is a photo with Lulin outlined (click to ebmiggen).

lulin0002That is a reasonable approximation of how easy it is to see from a reasonable dark site.  You can see it, but it doesn’t jump out at you.  I caught a plane as you can see (the streak toward the bottom of the picture).

Through my 20×80 binoculars on the other hand, WOW!  The tail was very prominent and covered just under half the field of view (probably about 1.6 degrees roughly or a little over three times the size of the full Moon).  Very nice view from a dark site.

There are still a few good chances to see it.  You can find a finder chart at Sky and Telescope. Lulin is heading toward a close conjunction with Regulus on Friday night (the bright star almost directly above it in my picture).  By Sunday night, the Moon starts to brighten the sky and will make observing difficult, so take advantage of the next few days.

Binoculars are enough to pick out the comet, but be sure to get as far away from bright lights as you can for the best view.  It was definitely worth it tonight!

And one other thing I should point out is that Lulin is on a hyperbolic orbit.  If you remember your high school math, hyperbolas never return to the same point twice…Lulin is making its one and only trip through the inner solar system.  I am happy I was able to spend a little quality time with Lulin tonight.

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February 26, 2009 - Posted by | Astrophotography, Observing

1 Comment »

  1. […] Binoculars are enough to pick out the comet , but be sure to get as far away from bright lights as you can for the best view. It was definitely worth it tonight ! And one other thing I should point out is that Lulin is on a hyperbolic …Read More […]

    Pingback by DIY Projects » Blog Archive » Comet Lulin Observing Report and Update « the Half-Astrophysicist Blog | March 11, 2009 | Reply


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