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C/2007 N3 (Lulin)

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#201 Dain

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Posted 25 February 2009 - 01:08 AM

Alrighty, I happend to catch Comet Lulin tonight as my skies were really, really nice. Easily seen naked eye with direct vision just a few degrees above Saturn. I have to say; observing the comet throughout the night ;the nucleus, coma, and tail all seemd to grow significantly in size. If I took the bright nucleus out of my FOV ( more on the edge of the field ), I could trace the tail back pretty far which was an excellent view come the end of the night. This comet is traveling extremely fast. I observed and noted at the beginning of the night that it had been passing 3 bright stars which later observing noticed that it had been far past those stars! This is a bright comet so I encourage all to go out and take a look. Its truly a beautiful sight.

Clear Skies to All!

#202 coeff

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Posted 25 February 2009 - 02:28 AM

A question from a rank amateur.
How does the comet move during the course of an evening in relation to a reference, Saturn?
I'm in Phoenix and starting at 10pm I had good view of Saturn and the mag 5 star to the right of it, but looking throughout that section of sky I failed to see the comet.
I am struggling with light cloud cover, and after having gone out again just now at midnight after reading this evenings posts of, "that was easy, it's right there a couple of degrees above Saturn", there's nothing to see for the clouds and it would seem I'm not knowledgeable enough to spot this object in the rare few minutes available of clear sky. I assume I'm just retarded since this is to be the evening of brightest viewing.

I'm using a new to me ETX-125 with a couple of 26mm, I also have a 32 and 9mm eyepiece.
I then began using my 10x20 bino's as well.
I can't begin to judge my level of light pollution but I am in the north portion of the city.
Sigh.

#203 Mike B.

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Posted 25 February 2009 - 11:37 AM

Wednesday morning I had intermittent clouds and mediocre transparency, but I persisted and got enough good data to generate this image of Comet Lulin:

Posted Image
Comet Lulin on 2-25-09. 16x60 sec and 16x120 sec @ ISO 1600, Canon 200mm F/2.8, Hutech Canon XS, IDAS-LPS.

Notice that the ion tail is not in evidence. It's swinging behind the comet as our viewing angle changes. It should be visible in a few days on the same side as the dust tail, in contrast to where it was before. Also note how long the dust tail has gotten as the viewing angle changes to a more perpendicular angle.

#204 Dain

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Posted 25 February 2009 - 11:48 AM

Fantasic shot Mike! This is what I was seeing last night/this morning myself. Very, very bright comet..long extended tail. We have some great skies coming again tonight so I'm excited to get back out to see Lulin again.

Clear Skies to All!

#205 Special Ed

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Posted 25 February 2009 - 12:16 PM

Very nice image, Mike. Lulin is assuming the "classic" comet look. :) What time did you take your image? I was out from 0500-0700 UT this morning (midnight-2AM local) and will post my observation and report this evening after I get home from work.

@ coeff--don't feel too bad that you couldn't find the comet. I looked for it around Saturn, too this morning and couldn't find it at first. That was because it was already about 6° west of Saturn --Lulin is a fast mover for sure. Look on a line between Saturn and Regulus. Use one of the simple charts by S&T or Spaceweather. Use your binoculars first to locate it and then put your scope on it. Good luck!

#206 Mike B.

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Posted 25 February 2009 - 12:27 PM

Very nice image, Mike. Lulin is assuming the "classic" comet look. :) What time did you take your image? I was out from 0500-0700 UT this morning (midnight-2AM local) and will post my observation and report this evening after I get home from work.


Thanks, Michael. :)

I was out early and started observing and imaging Lulin as soon as it got high enough to see. Some of my images had tree branches in them. Heheh!

The good images I caught are from about 5:30 UT to 7:30 UT on Feb 25th, 2009. I'd have to check my sub-images to be sure, but I think that is about right.

#207 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 25 February 2009 - 02:12 PM

Comet Lulin was quite a sight from a reasonably dark site last night. It was visible to the naked-eye with averted vision. Some color could be seen in the large coma through a friend's 6" Astrozap refractor and my 8" Starsplitter Dob, using a 42mm GSO widefield eyepiece. In addition to the borrowed 42mm, I viewed C/2007 N3 (Lulin) with my 35mm Panoptic and 13mm Ethos at 35 and 94x respectively.

I also observed Comet Lulin with my 8x42 Celestron Regals (the comet and Saturn were still in the same 6.25 degree field of view), a 16" LightBridge with a Denkmeier binoviewer and 21mm Denkmeier oculars, and a 20" Obsession and a 35mm Panoptic. The comet's pseudonucleus was very prominent and its dust tail extended for approximately 3/4's of a degree.

Dave Mitsky

#208 Hrundi

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Posted 25 February 2009 - 09:09 PM

Went at it with a 12" dob, wasn't visible naked eye, although I didn't try much. Too much humidity in the air, and my vision isn't great.
Through the telescope, it was remarkably bright. There was a star-like nucleus easily visible. The width of the coma was, I'd estimate, roughly a quarter of a degree. There was a brighter spot right near the core, towards the side of the coma opposite the tail. The tail appeared to be a degree in length.
Of course, these are just very rough estimates, but overall I consider the view quite satisfying.

#209 pilgrim1

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Posted 25 February 2009 - 10:01 PM

My ten year old son and I got to see Lulin with our 12" dob for the first time tonight and it did not disappoint. It appeared as a diffuse star with a bright core surrounded by glowing mist. We were amazed that it moved so rapidly across the fov and got very excited as it approached a background star. We thought it was going to occult it!

#210 rathbaster

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Posted 25 February 2009 - 10:37 PM

Showed Lulin to about 40 people tonight at the Brigewater State College Observatory Public night. A bright core with a coma that was clear to most people was visible in the 8" SCTs. The 12" SCT showed some greater structure and a tail which most first time viewers could describe. (Lulin seems to have hooked a great many people tonight, most want to come back for more :) ) Through binoculars (10x50 and 7x35) Lulin appeared as a bright patch, slight elongation.

-Joe

#211 Special Ed

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Posted 25 February 2009 - 10:48 PM

Nice reports, folks--thanks. Dave, you must have gotten a real good look at the core of the comet with those big apertures you listed. :cool:

As I reported earlier, after fooling around looking for the comet near Saturn, I realized that it had moved on and found it easily with the 12x36 binocs ~6° west of Saturn. Now that I was looking in the right spot, I could see it naked eye, but I wouldn't say it was easy even with my dark skies. If you have excellent visual acuity, that might be a different story.

Using the Astroscan at low power, Comet Lulin was a most impressive sight. It had a rounded head with a long, tapering tail that stretched over a degree in length. There was no sign of the elongated coma or anti-tail that was evident in previous observations. The coma had a brighter core and when I upped the magnification to 37x, a stellar pseudonucleus was visible with direct vision.

When I first began my observation, I noted that the coma formed the apex of a triangle with two stars--59 Leonis to the east and 56Y Leonis to the west. By the time I did the sketch an hour and twenty minutes later, Lulin had moved considerably to the west.

When I first began observing Lulin back in late December, I had to strain to locate a tiny faint smudge. This morning was a real payday. :cool:

C/2007 N3 (Lulin) 0500-0700 UT 25 Feb. 2009
S: 6/10 T: 5/6 Alt: 56°
m1= 5.3 DC= 7 Dia= 25' (Tail ~75')

Attached Files



#212 magic612

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Posted 25 February 2009 - 11:18 PM

Well, my sketch isn't quite as good as Ed's, but I did notice that Lulin was moving very quickly. So, although I don't fancy myself much of a "sky sketcher," I did my best to make a sketch of what I saw at the eyepiece, along with the times I saw each view. Note that I was looking through a refractor using a star diagonal. I sketched my drawings on paper first, then transferred them to digital by making a representation in Microsoft Paint, and adding Lulin to the "base" view at each different time point. All times are local, Central Standard Time.

Posted Image

#213 coeff

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 12:04 AM

I can't believe I can't see this thing.
I've been setup since 7:30 M.
I can see Saturn and Regulus by naked eye, barely 47 Leo.
I'd studied and identified 56, 58, 59, 63 and 65 Leo with a Planetarium program in my Palm, slowly ruling out known stars, using my binoculars. I found a binary with my 32mm but didn't take the time to try and id it because I want to find Lulin.
Then I take a break, jump on the site for some more clues and I see your drawing of exactly what I'm looking at but somehow I haven't seen it.
This is unreal.
Back at it by damn. Jiminy!

Tomorrow, I'm going to call a few eyeglass stores to see if I can get my money back on these defective eyeballs I was born with.

#214 Ptarmigan

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 12:51 AM

I like to see Comet Lulin, but I have clouds to contend with. :( :mad:

#215 Jeff Young

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 05:10 AM

After striking out for nearly a week running, a comment on one of the Irish boards got me to thinking. The gentleman was describing driving home and pulling over to get the binos out when a partial clearing presented itself. It finally dawned on me that I needed a more opportunistic approach to deal with my constant cloud cover. Checking two or three times a night to see if it was clear out wasn't doing the job.

So I duly set up my p-mount & binos in a south-facing window, pulled up a chair, set my sketching stuff on the window cill, and sat down to wait.

Over the next hour and a half I was rewarded with 3 spells of pretty good clarity and 4 or 5 spells viewing through high thin clouds. Lulin was easy naked eye during the clarity (although it appeared stellar -- no coma visible), and I'd estimate its brightness at better than mag 5.

I was able to work on some of the brighter field stars even through the high clouds, although I never got enough clear spells to plot all the dimmer ones (I worked mostly on the comet itself during them). The time listed on the sketch is when I plotted the comet's position relative to the field stars. I was working on the sketch from about 23:20 to 0:10.

Attached Files



#216 Mike B.

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 06:07 AM

I was not expecting to be imaging Lulin on Wed/Thu night, but the clouds parted at about 8:30 local time, so I geared up to shoot images. The clouds eventually came back periodically and in force after midnight, but I had enough good sub-images after culling out the ones with clouds to generate this image:

Posted Image
Lulin on Feb 26th, 2009, 06:00 UT (mid-exposure.) 39x90 sec @ ISO 1600, 200mm F/2.8, IDAS-LPS, Hutech Canon XS.

I had some pretty good views in binoculars, too, when it was really clear.

#217 Dave M

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 09:46 AM

Great! shot Mike..
I think ive seen the last of my clear skies for
a while.

#218 CaptianX

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 01:24 PM

coeff:
It sounds to me like your sky wasn't dark/transparent enough. I had a similar experience trying to find Lulin last week in less than ideal conditions. I was staring in the area it was supposed to be with my binoculars, and I couldn't see it. Eventually after I was fully dark adapted I finally saw it, but it was still invisible with direct vision. I pointed my 10" scope at it, and even then it was difficult to spot without using averted vision. Last night however was as clear as it gets here, and I picked it up no problem with my binoculars, I could even see the tail in the 10x50s. I'd even say it was bright when I pointed the scope at it. What a difference the sky condition makes!

#219 Zebra24601

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 01:47 PM

Saw it for the first time last night. Sky had a limiting magnitude of about 5.5 (based on the difficulty I had making out the Little Dipper stars). Lots of mosisture in the air and lots of light scattering.

Lulin was not visible to me naked eye, but a few seconds of sweeping with my 15x70 binoculars picked it up quickly. It was further west than I had anticipated (because I got the date mixed up!).

Through my little Bushnell at about 18x, it was relatively bright and well-defined. My total brightness estimate (based on the "rack a star out of focus" test) is up near 4.5, which is way brighter than most estimates I have seen. But it was noticeably brighter than the two 5th magnitude stars nearby were, when they were racked out of focus. If it were a point-source in a transparent sky, it would have been easily naked eye from my location. But with all the moisture in the air and its diffuse nature, I could not make it out naked-eye.

Tail seemed to me to be about 1.5 degrees. Definitely more than one degree long. It looked very much like half of an Andromeda Galaxy.

From a really dark sky and better transparency, this would should photgraph really well.

#220 pilgrim1

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 02:41 PM

Did anyone observing Lulin last night, 2/25/09, see it pass very closely by a star of approximately equal magnitude? Time was between 2130 and 2000 hours EST.

#221 Bill Weir

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 03:05 PM

Did anyone observing Lulin last night, 2/25/09, see it pass very closely by a star of approximately equal magnitude? Time was between 2130 and 2000 hours EST.


Sort of. At 2200 hrs PST, from the west coast, the comet made the third point of a naked eye triangle with the stars 48 Leo and rho Leo. 48 Leo is mag 5.08. I'm sure that's what you saw. When I defocused 48 Leo to the size of the head of the comet the disc of the star was just marginally brighter than the head of the comet.

Here's the sketch I did at that time.
http://rascvic.zenfo...1bf45#h3c01bf45

Bill

#222 Edward E

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 03:21 PM

Nice shoot! I finally had a chance to observe the comet last night with my 5" f8 Refractor, with the 38mm Erfle eyepiece the scope has a 2.5 degree FOV. I was able to observe ~ 3.5 degrees of tail from the comet and no anti- tail.

#223 Mike B.

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Posted 27 February 2009 - 09:11 AM

On Thursday night, Feb 26th, 2009, I had the chance to catch Comet Lulin in between fast moving clouds. I used my 10x50 Pentax binoculars. I could fit the comet and Regulus all in one field of view. Awesome sight is all I can say! LoL! :jump:

Lulin's tail was visible for about a degree or so in my LP conditions and I could see a bright, almost stellar core (could have been a star... not sure.) Was there an opposition effect? The tail appeared brighter in my binoculars than other times I've seen it, but with the clouds and LP, I couldn't be sure if it was what some were predicting. Oh, well...

Viewers in the UK on Friday night will see the comet directly south of Regulus and here in the states we'll get to see it just southwest of Regulus after the comet rises out the muck. I don't think it will be clear here at home, but I might get lucky again and catch it in the sucker holes between clouds.

#224 dfell

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Posted 27 February 2009 - 11:28 AM

I set up the 12" dob after work last night around midnight. the comet was easily found with the Telrad and visible in the 7 x 50 finder as a fuzzy patch. Visually through the dob with a 13mm Ethos (115X) it presented as a fairly bright pseudo nucleus with a distinct surrounding coma and a faint dust tail. The pseudo nucleus appeared to be brighter on the leading edge with a definite split or bifurcation into two or more parts as the seeing varied. I would estimate total mag between 5 and 6, although I suspect some ice fog was present. A quick look at Saturn showed a very rapid seeing ripple effect, probably caused by upper winds, ground wind was SW at 2-3 Kmh. I made a sketch...
http://www.spacealbe...ts/c2007n3c.jpg
Tonight should be another opportunity right next to Regulus, to try again.

#225 Jeff Young

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Posted 27 February 2009 - 01:21 PM

I hope to catch it tonight with Regulus, but the weather doesn't look promising....

-- Jeff.






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