Sunday, February 22, 2009

Mardi Gras' Fat Tuesday’s Green Smudge Comet Lulin

It was my hope to take photograph the Mardi Gras Fat Tuesday’s Green Smudge Comet Lulin. I wanted to show what Comet Lulin might look like with out a big telescopic view, from a city or slightly darker area to simulate what most would see as the comet comes closest to Earth on 2/24. I tried a couple of weeks ago but no success.

Last night 2/21, I tried again at Powell Observatory, Louisburg, KS just south of Kansas City. Some people said that the comet could now be spotted with binoculars and even naked eye! And I saw it had brightened and could see both these views as well as in our 30 inch telescope.

0n 2/21/09 returning back to Powell, I saw the brightening comet. The nucleus was brighter and so was the rest of the comet coma. It is moving away fast from the Sun.
We could see it moving across the the telescope's field. The coma was bigger and one side (left) was brighter. We could see it easily with our binoculars and could see it (naked eye) as a smudge below Saturn.

This time I was successful using my Canon Rebel XT with 55mm lens, ASA 800 at 30 seconds f/6.3.
You can see the smudge comet (6 magnitude) in the photo just under ) the 3.56 star Zanijava which is just below the brighter planet Saturn (mag 0.56) to the left of the bright blue star called Denabola, in the constellation Leo . Since it was 11:00 CT, the comet was still coming up from the East horizon and still drank in some of the lights from the horizon. Still I was glad to image it . If I could see it with naked eye and binoculars and image it without a big lens (my next attempt), you can too!

Additional information

Comet Lulin, discovered at an observatory in China , is now brightening for a date to be nearest Earth on Feb 24. Now at mag 6 we hope it will brighten to 5th. I saw it with our 30 inch telescope a couple of weeks ago using our Powell Observatory’s 39 inch telescope. Its greenish colored and was difficult to see. The nucleus was even more difficult to see.

This photo on APOD is like what I saw of it and sketched from last week. A tenuous circle like cloud like coma with viewable but difficult to see nucleus right in the center.

if not 2/21 look at archivescan't find it? use the archives and go to earlier date other then this one

Also there are several nice photos on

Also nice article and more pics at

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