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UPDATE: Last week, observers saw little of Comet Lulin because it was lost in the glare of the passing Moon. The glare is subsiding now and Lulin is back--better than ever. Observers say it is visible to the naked-eye (magnitude +5.6) as a faint gassy patch in the constellation Virgo before dawn. Backyard telescopes reveal a full-fledged comet, vivid green, that moves as you watch it. On Feb 17th, Joe Gafford of Deer Trail, Colorado, caught a solar wind gust tearing away part of Comet Lulin's tail:
The view will improve in the nights ahead. Comet Lulin is approaching Earth for a 38-million-mile close encounter on Feb. 24th. At that time, the comet could shine two or three times brighter than it does now, and photographers will record it using cameras alone--no telescope required. Browse the gallery for a hint of things to come: