Chris McKitterick (mckitterick) wrote,
Chris McKitterick

Astro-Image of the Day: Comet Lulin at Closest Approach Tonight!

This comet is neat in so many ways: Discovered by a 19-year-old student from photos taken by the Taiwanese Lulin Observatory, it has two tails, is green, orbits in the reverse direction of the rest of the Solar System objects, and is on its first visit to the Inner Solar System from its home in the Oort Cloud!

Wow! Here's an image of it:

Click the image to see the story.

Tonight it passes closest to Earth, within 0.41 AU (38 million miles, or less than half the Earth-Sun distance), though it's just about as close for a few days before and after - until the Moon begins to interfere. You'll find it with a pair of binoculars or a small telescope between Saturn and the star Regulus, about magnitude 5. It's high up by late night, directly overhead at about 1:30am. Here's a map:

Click the image to see the more on how to find the comet.

It's supposed to be clear here in Kansas tonight... I'm still deathly ill, but this only happens once in the lifetime of a sequoia!

Tags: astronomy

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