Friday, January 9, 2009

Approaching Comet Lulin, New Sunspots, Full Moon Alert

Space Weather News for Jan. 9, 2009

APPROACHING COMET: Comet Lulin (C/2007 N3), discovered in 2007 by a collaborative team of Taiwanese and Chinese astronomers, is swinging around the sun and approaching Earth. The photogenic comet has a bright tail and an "anti-tail" visible in mid-sized backyard telescopes. At closest approach in February, Comet Lulin is expected to brighten to naked-eye visibility. Visit for sky maps, pictures and more information.

NEW SUNSPOTS: For the second time this week, a sunspot is coalescing on the surface of the sun. The spot's high latitude and magnetic polarity identify it as a member of new Solar Cycle 24; its appearance continues a recent trend of gradually intensifying new-cycle solar activity. The spot is growing rapidly and may soon provide a nice target for backyard solar telescopes.

FULL MOON ALERT! This weekend's full Moon is the biggest and brightest of 2009. It's a "perigee Moon" as much as 50,000 km closer to Earth than other full Moons we'll see later this year. Perigee moonlight shining through icy winter air can produce beautiful halos, coronas, moondogs and other atmospheric optics phenomena. Sample photos are featured on today's edition of

Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

New Comet visible naked eye

This info comes to us through Dennis Young, Serius Observers of Sedona

A new comet(Comet C/2007 N3 Lulin), is heading our way rounding the sun this Jan 10th..(perihelion-1.2 AU),and coming closest to earth on Feb 24th (at .41AU) (1-AU is 93million miles). - At its closest the comet moves over 5degs of the sky every day!! That is easy movement to be seen in low power scope or even binoculars!. Estimates put this comet at 5mag in brightness at its peak in late feb.

First hand visual --using 90mm scope, high power binoculars, and even in a standard 7x35 binos I was able to pick up this comet easily this morning around 5am. Current mag is around 7.5mag. I saw no tail at any magnification but a bright diffuse nucleus just off the tip of scopius arm. Twilight kicks in around 630am..So any viewing before 6am and you should not have troubles spotting this comet at present. Check out sky&tel website for current location.<> Also a short brief history of Comet is attach below.

As this comet swing very fast across the sky to be seen during evening hours(late feb) I think we as a club could have a public star Comet Party showing this to the general public IF it puts on a great display.-(maybe at Sedona Library.)-just after our meeting on Feb 18(wed) or following sunday feb22nd(new moon is Feb25).

On feb 23 it is about 2deg south of Saturn.(a photo opportunity)...also note Saturn is getting very thin rings..

History of Comet Lulin ..(in part below)....

According to the museum, it took 28.5 million years for Comet Lulin to revolve round the Sun on its own axis.
In other words, museum astronomers said, the last time Comet Lulin came to the inner part of the solar system, the ice caps of the North and South Poles had just formed, the globe's highest mountain range, the Himalayas, had just appeared upon a ground breaking orogenic movement, and Taiwan was still deep in the sea.
Comet Lulin was initially described as an asteroidal object when found by Ye Quanzhi at the Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China.
Three images were obtained by Lin Chi-sheng of the Graduate Institute of Astronomy, National Central University at Zhongli in Taiwan on July 11, 2007.
Lin had acquired the images using the 41-cm camera at the university's Lulin Observatory in Nantou, central Taiwan.
The discovery of Comet Lulin (C/2227 N3) was part of the major.....

Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society

Sunday, January 4, 2009

January Issue is available on line tonight

Please help yourself to the January issue of PAStimes
at this link
on the website. Enjoy!

Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society