Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Comet Lulin at its best

Today, February 24th, Comet Lulin is making its closest approach to Earth (0.41 A.U.) peaking at magnitude 5.0. After that Lulin is moving away from both Earth and the Sun, so it fades fairly quickly. 

Yesterday, Lulin was just 2 degrees south-southwest of Saturn.

Here You can see our image showing the rendez-vous between the comet and the planet:

While here there is an animation showing the motion of the comet in 5 minutes (this week the comet is moving at over 5° per day):

Because of the particular geometry between Earth, comet and Sun we see the comet Lulin showing a nice sunward pointing dust tail (antitail) along with a ion tail.

This diagram shows the geometry of Comet Lulin's tail and anti-tail:

http://tinyurl.com/djj3gm (courtesy of Paolo Berardi)

For more information and images please check also our past posts about this nice comet:

By E. Guido & G. Sostero

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