Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Comet Lulin at its best

Today, February 24th, comet C/2007 N3 (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. Below you can see our image showing the rendez-vous between the comet and the planet (click on it for a bigger version):

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 (click on it for a bigger version):

Credit: Paolo Berardi

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

By Ernesto Guido & Giovanni Sostero

No comments: