Thursday, February 5, 2009

Comet Lulin's Tail

Space Weather News for Feb. 5, 2009

COMET TAIL: Comet Lulin (C/2007 N3) is approaching Earth and putting on a good show for amateur astronomers. Yesterday, Feb. 4th, observers witnessed a "disconnection event." A gust of solar wind tore off part of the comet's tail in plain view of backyard telescopes. Photos of the event are featured on today's edition of Activity in the comet's tail and atmosphere will become even easier to see in the weeks ahead as Lulin nears closest approach on Feb. 24th. At that time the comet will lie only 38 million miles from Earth and it should be visible to the naked eye. In the meantime, please note that Feb. 5th-7th, is an especially good time to find Comet Lulin in the pre-dawn sky. The comet is gliding beautifully close to the naked-eye double star Zubenelgenubi. Just point your binoculars at the double star and the comet will materialize right beside it. Visit for photos, sky maps and more information.

Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society