[AZ-Observing] Re: Comet C/2007 N3 (Lulin)

  • From: Jeremy Perez <jeremy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: az-observing@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 31 Jan 2009 00:50:21 -0700

After making a couple other early morning observations on January 28,  
2009, I turned the telescope on Comet Lulin again. Astronomical  
twilight was threatening, and I needed to move quickly. The view was  
much better than earlier this month. The coma appeared brighter and  
larger and both ion and dust tails appeared longer. The dust tail  
appeared to be about 12 arc minutes in length at a PA of 100°. It  
also appeared heavier on its southern side. The ion tail was still  
more difficult and appeared to be about 8 arc minutes in length at a  
PA of 280°. The coma took an elongated appearance, stretching in the  
direction of the two opposing tails. It was very slightly tinted  
green. The pseudo-nucleus appeared as a thicker knot of brightness at  
the center and I would rate the degree of condensation as 6.

I took a couple minutes to attempt a more attentive magnitude  
estimate. With my 32 mm Plössl, I defocused at low power and compared  
it to a couple nearby stars. The comet appeared brighter than HIP  
75532 (vMag 7.74) and fainter than 28 Librae (vMag 6.15). It was a  
bit closer to 28 Librae in magnitude, so I would estimate the comet  
at 6.8 magnitude. That's a significant difference from my very rough  
estimate earlier in the month, but it still makes for a great, bright  
telescopic comet.

If you are observing the comet with a telescope under skies that are  
even slightly compromised, the tails will likely be very difficult to  
see. Under excellent conditions at Sunset Crater National Monument  
this morning, they were still very subtle. The coma, however, is  
readily visible and should still provide a nice view of the comet  
even if the tails don't show up. I'm still looking forward to its  
appearance at opposition in February when it will swing by at a more  
reasonable hour of the night.

The full report details and larger sketch can be found here:

Clear skies,
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