Comet Lulin (C/2007 N3) makes closest approach to Earth tomorrow (February 24 2009)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Here's the sky on the morning of February 24 (tomorrow) with the position (I think) of Comet Lulin around that red circle.

You might have noticed news about a green comet approaching the Earth recently (not actually coming straight towards us, just getting closer) and this comet is Comet Lulin, AKA C/2007 N3 (鹿林彗星). Tomorrow is the day when it will be at its closest to Earth, and luckily the Moon isn't around to obscure the view either so the sky will be nice and dark...for those that don't live in the city like me. So once again I'm going to enjoy hearing about the event second-hand from others that live in better places to see the sky. Here's what says about the event:

What are the odds? On Tuesday morning, Feb. 24th, Saturn and Comet Lulin will converge in the constellation Leo only 2o apart. At the same time, Comet Lulin will be making its closest approach to Earth (61 million km), while four of Saturn's moons transit the disk of the ringed planet. Oh, and the Moon will be New, providing dark skies for anyone who wishes to see the show. All you need now ... is a telescope.
A bit of info from the Turkish Wikipedia for fun:
24 Şubat 2009 tarihinde Dünya'dan gözlemlenebilen en parlak noktasına , +4 ve +6 magnitüt olarak ulaşacaktır. Lulin kuyrukluyıldızı 23 Şubat'ta Satürn, 26 Şubat, 27 Şubat 2009'da Aslan Takımyıldızı içindeki Regulus yakınlarından ve 12 Mayıs 2009'da Kardinal kuyrukluyıldızı yakınlarından geçecektir.
On February 2009 when it is at its brightest point as viewed from the Earth it will approach a magnitude of +4 to +6. Comet Lulin will pass by Saturn on the 23rd of February, Regulus in Leo on the 26th and the 27th, and on the 12th of May it will pass close to Cardinal's Comet.

So either go out and see it yourself or stay tuned for some pictures soon as everybody turns their eyes to the comet during this close approach.

Edit: it's now February 24th and here's one of the images:


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