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C/2007 N3 (Lulin)

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#301 Tonk

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Posted 19 March 2009 - 02:28 PM

I'm going to have my second chance to properly observe this comet on Friday night. Been too cloudy in the UK this year so far!

#302 Special Ed

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Posted 19 March 2009 - 09:12 PM

Jeff, Frank-- thank you very much.

Mike B--nice image. :) It looks like you, Bill, and I were all out about the same time. :cool:

In my report, I meant to add that visually the head of the comet appeared very large and dimly diffused. Hard to describe--you have to see it, I guess. I observed for 45 minutes before I sketched, so my eye/brain "stacked" images for that time. My sketch (and Bill's) are attempts to render that view. Mike's image (and any image) tends to "bake" the brighter parts and fog the dimmer, more subtle parts--yet the star placement and major comet components are always accurate. That's why I like comparing visual observations to images--much can be learned.

Tony, looking forward to your effort--but don't look to me for sympathy about clouds. ;)

#303 Tonk

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 10:33 AM

but don't look to me for sympathy about clouds.


They come from your direction! So you lot must have something to do with them ;)

#304 rocco13

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Posted 21 March 2009 - 03:37 PM

I think I finally saw it last night. (If not, then I discovered a new galaxy in Gemini!)

That's what it appeared like through my 8" SCT. I wished I had been able to get out about three weeks ago, but last night was my first opportunity in over a month. It was hard finding a chart showing it's location, as most of the ones I came across only went to March 14 or earlier.

#305 Special Ed

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Posted 22 March 2009 - 11:38 AM

but don't look to me for sympathy about clouds.


They come from your direction! So you lot must have something to do with them ;)


Ouch! :lol:


Rocco,

Your description of Lulin as appearing like a galaxy is apt--that's how it appeared to me too (a faint galaxy) through the 8" Cat at 50x when I observed it early this morning (March 22nd). I also used 80x and 168x.

Lulin was ~1° N of the eclipsing variable Zeta Gem and its smaller companion. I was unable to detect it with the 12x36 IS binoculars. That reminded me of January when I tried to see the comet 4 times using the 12x36's with no success before it finally brightened up.

The coma appeared irregular with no tail that I could detect. There was some brightening in the coma center when I looked with averted vision. It was at a fairly low altitude when I observed which may have been a limiting factor--I'm going for another look tonight when I can catch it higher in the sky. It appears to be fading rapidly. You can find a chart to take you through April 7th here.

C/2007 N3 (Lulin) 03.22.2009 0500 UT
8" (20cm) f/10 SCT @ 50x
S: 7/10 T: 5/6 Alt: 27°
m1= 7.7 DC= 3 Dia= 8'

#306 stevecoe

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Posted 22 March 2009 - 12:07 PM

Howdy all;

Yes, Lulin is certainly fading rapidly. I had a chance to observe it on Friday evening, Mar. 20 with my 6" f/8 refractor at 85X. I was at a site far from the lights of Phoenix in the Arizona desert.

The coma still has a fairly high surface brightness and there are three levels of condensation toward an almost stellar nucleus. Averted vision makes the coma somewhat larger and more prominent. The tail is only about 30 arcminutes long and fades once it is away from the coma. The last 10 arcminutes or so are only seen with averted vision and are very low surface brightness.

This is on a night I rated 6/10 for seeing and 7/10 for transparency.

Clear skies;
Steve Coe

#307 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 22 March 2009 - 12:16 PM

Two fellow CAS members and I checked out a new observing site on Friday night. C/2007 N3 (Lulin) was one of the very first targets for my 8" Starsplitter Tube Dob. Rapidly moving (not that long ago it was in Leo!) Comet Lulin was situated to the west of NGC 2392 (the Eskimo Nebula) in Gemini and was easily detected at 35x (35mm Tele Vue Panoptic) but the view was far better at 93x (13mm Tele Vue Ethos). The comet had dimmed considerably since the last time I'd seen it from a dark site, which was late last month. Its tail could be seen with averted vision.

I also viewed Comet Lulin through 10x50 Celestron Ultimas.

Dave Mitsky

#308 Special Ed

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 06:42 PM

Interesting reports, guys. I got a look at the comet last night (today UT) when it was at twice the altitude of my last observation and was able to see something closer to what you saw. As it speeds away from us, it is dimming fast. I compared it to several of the stars in the FOV of my sketch using the in-out method and it appeared a whole magnitude dimmer than my last observation on March 22nd

[Disclaimer: Reports I've read on the Web have the magnitude and coma diameter all over the map--what seems accurate is that Comet Lulin is getting harder and harder to observe.]

The coma still has a fair degree of condensation (especially using averted vision). What I could see of the tail was ~10 arcmins long. I'm looking forward to reading what others can see of this fast receding visitor from the Oort Cloud. :)

C/2007 N3 (Lulin) 0245 UT 23 March 2009
S: 5/10 T: 5/6 Alt: 55°
m1= 8.8 DC= 3 Dia= 8'

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#309 Dean Norris

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 11:36 PM

I saw Comet Lulin last night (3-22-09) in my 10" newt. Finding it was a bit tricky since I couldn't see it in my 8X50 view finder or in binoculars. I used my Telrad finder to locate the comet. I estimated it's distance in degrees from it's neighboring stars on the S+T finder chart. Then using the 4 degree circle on the Telrad, I was able position the scope so I could see it at low power in the scope. 2 nights earlier I tried finding the comet with no luck using my 8X50 finder. I had removed the Telrad a few weeks earlier and hadn't put it back on the scope since lately I've been viewing Saturn primarily. The telrad is such a great tool.
The comet is much fainter then the last time I saw it on 3-16-09. I viewed the comet at 154X. At this magnification it appeared like a fuzzy ball with some elongation. With averted vision I thought I could see a faint nucleus.
Dean

#310 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 25 March 2009 - 07:04 PM

I observed Comet Lulin again on Monday night (7.1" APM achromat) and last night (8" Starsplitter Tube Dob) from the same dark site, a somewhat darker one to the east of the one that I was at on Friday night. The comet continues to fade.

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#311 Roman White

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 03:03 PM

Post deleted by Roman White

#312 stevecoe

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 03:19 PM

Howdy all;

I was testing a "new" 85mm lens at f/2.5 and took a 1 minute shot of Lulin on Mar. 23. It is in the middle, honest :grin:

Clear skies to us all;
Steve Coe

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#313 Tonk

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 05:35 PM

Here is Lulin at midnight (UT) 23/24 March amongst the milkyway stars of Gemini

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#314 Dean Norris

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Posted 27 March 2009 - 02:24 AM

I observed Comet Luliln tonight at 10:15 PM (3-27-09). I got my best view at 74X through my 10" newt. It's definitely fainter since the last time I saw it on 3-22-09. I found it at 38X, by sweeping through the area with this low power eyepiece. It reminded me of a galaxy without a nucleus.
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#315 Aldebaran

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Posted 27 March 2009 - 03:58 PM

Hello!

I was observing the comet Lulin for first time 18/19.3.2009.

I made this sketch with cottonwool sticks and graphite pencils. I inverted the colors with Paint Shop Pro.

Posted Image

The comet was little bit elongated, and somewhat brighter in the middle. It also had a short, very dim tail, and I just managed to sot it with prolonged gaze and averted vision.

Observation information:

Date: 19/20.3.2009
Time: 23.25
Observing site: Länsi-Turunmaa, Finland
Instrument: 10''
Magnification: 37,5x
FOV: 84'

Conditions:
Limiting magnitude 6,5, clear sky, calm,

Some parameters of the comet:

Diameter of the coma: 9,5
Degree of condensation: 5 (1-9)
Length of the tail: 5'
Direction of the tail: 100 degrees
Brightness: <6,5 mag. (I couldn't spot the comet with naked eye)

#316 Roman White

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Posted 27 March 2009 - 05:00 PM

I haven't posted my observations of the comet here before, so let me tell my short story...
The comet was a good one (who knows - maybe the best in 2009), but the results are a bit disappointing because during the comet's visibility period the weather in Poltava was very bad, so I had only 3 observing sessions in February (none before) and several more in March.

My ICQ-formatted observations (only first 3 of them are enough precise):
2007N3 2009 02 17.98 S 6.0 TK 7.6L 9 35 &12 4 ICQ XX KOSXX
2007N3 2009 02 19.95 S 5.8:HI 7.6L 9 35 &13 3/ ICQ XX KOSXX
2007N3 2009 02 23.90 S 5.4 TK 7.6L 9 35 &13 4/ ICQ XX KOSXX
2007N3 2009 03 11.85 S 6.8:TK 7.6L 9 35 & 7 2 ICQ XX KOSXX
2007N3 2009 03 22.95 S 7.8:TK 9.0B 5 20 & 6 2 ICQ XX KOSXX

All observations are made from Poltava (Bortle class sky 6) with 76mm Newton reflector scope (except of the last one), in February I observed it also with 22x32B. Have never seen it with naked eye (light pollution).

Feb.17/18 was my first and the best observing session of C/2007N3 (Lulin). NELM ~5.3, ML=11.1m (telescope). The comet had large moderately diffuse coma, CC was visible (dia. ~2'), faint starlike false nucleus (~11m) was barely visible inside. No tails seen. Comet was moving very quickly - noticeable movement at 35x magnif. during 1-2 hours (20'). With binoculars (22x32) there weren't much details, but it was visible good on clear nights.

on Feb.19/20 the comet was almost the same, but cirrus clouds interferred

Feb.23/24 was a great day for a comet (both closest to Earth at 0.41AU and conjunction with Saturn at ~2deg.), and I had a luck to get clear skies, but the frost (-12*C) and haze made a little problem.
NELM ~4.5, ML~10.2m (telescope). The comet was a bit brighter, it had large moderately diffuse coma, with distinct brightening towards center, central condensation ~2...3', faint starlike false nucleus (~10m) inside (barely visible). No tails seen. Still moving quickly. Viewing the comet in the same binoculars FOV together with Saturn was a memorable sight!

Mar.11/12 - clear night but great interferrence of the full Moon. ML=10.5m (telescope). The comet was faint and undistinct (too bright sky background).

I had also a glimpe at the comet on Mar.18/19 and 23/24, but the conditions were poor hence the comet was very faint to me.

Mar.22/23 was not a usual observation because I bought a new 20x90 binoculars on that night and then I thought why don't test it at the comet... :grin: Though the comet was only at 15-20 deg. altitude and the moderate LP was present there. The sky transparency was good, ZNELM=5.5+, ML=10.5m (bino. - in the comet's FOV). Small diffuse coma, with brightening towards center.

Sketches (except of Mar.22/23) are available at my website

I'm not sure I will see the comet furthermore, thus this post can be a summary of all my observations.

#317 Tonk

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Posted 27 March 2009 - 06:37 PM

Just though it would be nice to show you Lulin starless and bible black. From 1st March. The interesting thing is because of orbital geometry we are seeing the dust tail side on in the comets orbital plane and thus the thinnest view

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#318 Special Ed

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Posted 28 March 2009 - 07:42 AM

Hi Folks,

Impressive set of reports, sketches, and images posted here since I last checked in. :bow: Nothing but clouds here all week so they are nice to see.

@ Steve Coe--I see Lulin amid that widefield star packed background. :) It's not crossing the sky like it was--that bright star in the upper left corner is Delta Gem.

@ Tonk--nice images and thanks for again putting our viewpoint of the comet in context. I can add that Lulin is traveling almost directly away from us now--it will stay in the same 3° area of Gemini from the end of March until the end of May (according to S&T).

#319 Mike B.

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Posted 29 March 2009 - 03:24 AM

Weather finally cleared here at home on Saturday, so I imaged Comet Lulin. Below is a single exposure preview of what I caught. North is towards the bottom of the frame:

Posted Image
Comet Lulin, Mar 29, 2009, 03:16 UT. 1x180 sec @ ISO 1600. Meade SN-8 at F/4, IDAS-LPS, Hutech Canon XS.

As an aside, take note of the streak to the lower left of the comet. If you click the image to see the enlargement, you'll notice a satellite-like object that was apparently changing colors (blue, red, green, etc.) It was not visible in the the images taken before and after this image, however. (I was shooting sequential 3-minute sub-images with 15 seconds between exposures.)

A close-up can be seen by clicking here.

Anyone have any ideas about what could cause such a track? The only thing I can think of is some kind of camera glitch.

#320 Jeff Young

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Posted 29 March 2009 - 05:29 AM

Roman --

Nice reports, but I couldn't get the link to your sketches to work (DNS error resolving the server).

Cheers,
-- Jeff.

#321 Roman White

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Posted 29 March 2009 - 07:19 AM

Roman --
Nice reports, but I couldn't get the link to your sketches to work (DNS error resolving the server).
Cheers,
-- Jeff.

Thanks, Jeff
I don't know why but there were two "http://" prefixes in the link (yikes!) - I corrected it.

Mike, that's a nice image, I can see some evidence of tail

#322 Jeff Young

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Posted 29 March 2009 - 09:30 AM

Roman --

Nice sketches and presentation of them on your website. I like all the technical details.

Cheers,
-- Jeff.

#323 Mike B.

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Posted 29 March 2009 - 11:20 AM


Mike, that's a nice image, I can see some evidence of tail


Thanks, Roman! :)

I have a "final" image of the comet that shows the tail better that I'll post below.

Consensus about the streak in the image is that it is probably a cosmic ray particle that struck my sensor. Looks weird but it occurs every now and then if you take enough images with a CCD or CMOS sensor.

Here's the image:

Posted Image
Comet Lulin on 3-29-09, 03:10 UT. 23x180 sec @ ISO 1600. Meade SN-8 at F/4, MPCC, IDAS-LPS, Hutech Canon XS.

#324 Tonk

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 05:14 PM

Here is the comet on the late evening 29th March (UK)

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#325 hiro

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 09:08 PM

beautiful photo! maestro tonk.






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