Lulin Loses Part of Tail
5 Feb 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 http://spaceweather.com.
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 http://spaceweather.com for photos, sky maps and more information.