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Stargazers in for a treat as green comet 'the size of Jupiter' streaks past Earth tonight

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posted on Feb, 23 2009 @ 12:33 PM

Stargazers could be in for a treat tonight as a spectacular double-tailed green comet flashes past Earth.

There is nothing to be concerned about: the celestial body, named 'Lulin', comes no closer than 38 million miles - or 160 times farther than the moon.

But the Jupiter-sized ball of ice and gas will still be visible to the naked eye.

The stellar traveller is very active, shedding nearly 800 gallons of water each second on its journey around the Sun. That's enough liquid to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool in less than 15 minutes.

WOW, first i've heard of it.. i hope there will be a clear sky out there tonight.

I'll definitely be going out to take a look.

this appears to be Lulin's first visit to the inner solar system and its first exposure to intense sunlight.

So prophecies could yet be fulfilled

Lulin's green color comes from the gases that make up its Jupiter-sized atmosphere.

It's got an atmosphere? Am I missing something here or do I just not understand the composition of a comet?

posted on Feb, 23 2009 @ 12:37 PM
reply to post by Extralien

All comets of significance have a coma, what the article refers to as an "atmosphere."
(maccholz, for example, from a few years ago:

my apologies for poor image quality; I had no idea what I was doing with image processing back then)
It's far thinner than any actual planetary atmosphere though, and it has to be constantly replinished by the comet. Once the comet leaves the sun's vicinity, it stops outgassing and the coma dissipates.
Lulin, for comparison:
I'm going to attempt to photograph the comet tonight, and if I play my cards right, perhaps I can do a longer time lapse video covering an hour or more.

[edit on 23-2-2009 by ngchunter]

posted on Feb, 23 2009 @ 12:44 PM
comets have atmosphere, if they haven't been close enough to a star for the star to strip/burn the atmosphere off.

This one has never been close to Sol. This time it might get its atmosphere stripped off.

posted on Feb, 23 2009 @ 12:44 PM
[edit on 2009/2/23 by Aeons]

posted on Feb, 23 2009 @ 01:05 PM
bearing, direction of travel please. ie where to gaze.. thank you sir
oh and an approx time would be nice

[edit on 23-2-2009 by foxhoundone]

posted on Feb, 23 2009 @ 01:12 PM
reply to post by foxhoundone

Near saturn, it'll be visible for most of the night once saturn rises.

posted on Feb, 23 2009 @ 02:34 PM
reply to post by Extralien

Please note that comets do not "streak" across the sky. Their relative motion is nearly undetectable.

Lulin may be visible with the naked eye as a fuzzy ball. It doesn't promise to be very impressive.

posted on Feb, 23 2009 @ 02:45 PM
Sadly, it is going to be cloudy for several days where I live.

posted on Feb, 23 2009 @ 02:46 PM
Plenty of hot chocolate and my two telescopes have a date tonight. If it doesn't cloud up!

posted on Feb, 23 2009 @ 04:19 PM
Comet Lulin is not just going to flash past the earth..
This is a very slow moving comet..
does not leave the solarsystem till 2024
the comet was first spotted in 1995 so it is believed that it came in with comet hale-bopp

I have some interesting information about it's orbit.

dec 4 1995 crossed Neptunes Orbit 20 degress away from Neptune
sept 11 2001 crossed orbit of Uranus only 30 degrees away from Uranus
apr 30 2006 crossed orbit of Saturn
nov 21 2007 crossed orbit of Jupiter about 44 degrees away from Jupiter
nov 11 2008 crossed the orbit of mars and only 10 degrees off Mars

feb 26 there is an electrical alignment between earth and lulin
mar 29 2010 crosses orbit of jupiter
jul 23 2016 crosses orbit of uranus



posted on Feb, 23 2009 @ 05:10 PM
daz - The quote in your signature - the name is spelled wrong.

posted on Feb, 23 2009 @ 05:28 PM
thanks for that..
always had a feeling something was wrong with the universe..


posted on Feb, 23 2009 @ 05:29 PM
I am in Spain and at this time I can clearly see Saturn end even Regulus. Sky is cloudless. No sign of Comet Lulin however.

Stellarium does not have it in their db either. Any pseudonyms?

Before I break out my Meade I´d like to know where to look exactly.

posted on Feb, 23 2009 @ 05:34 PM
Thanks to all for the info relating to comets and their structure/composition etc.

It's a nice clear night here in Devon, UK and I'm hoping to get a glimpse of it later, although i am in a city.

I sure hope to see it.

posted on Feb, 23 2009 @ 05:37 PM
Sooo, look for saturn? And it shoul be near by?


posted on Feb, 23 2009 @ 05:41 PM
reply to post by MoonMine

Try heavens-above

Geocentric Data
Right Ascension (J2000) 11h 22.1m
Declination (J2000) 4° 11'
Constellation Leo
Magnitude 6.0
Distance from Earth 0.411 AU

[edit on 2/23/2009 by Phage]

posted on Feb, 23 2009 @ 05:44 PM
So we're not sure if it will be visible? Or atleast, entertainingly visible? How far is Jupiter? If its the same size can't we judge its brightness by the distance of jupiter and lulin?

Lulin: 38 million miles

Jupiter: ??????

[edit on 23-2-2009 by -NewSense-]

posted on Feb, 23 2009 @ 05:45 PM
What does it mean Jupiter-sized???! that can't be right surely... does it mean the comet appears to be the same size as jupiter from our perspective?

Extralien, I'm in Plymouth
hoping to see the comet.. just downloaded stellarium. can we even see saturn from here at the moment?

posted on Feb, 23 2009 @ 05:46 PM
I live in Pensacola Florida. What direction and what time should I look?

posted on Feb, 23 2009 @ 05:51 PM
reply to post by Phage

Got it thanks.

Comet C/2007 N3 Lulin

I see something very faint at this exact location, does not seem to be moving.

Like you said nothing streaking, nor anything else striking for that matter.

Nice website BTW.

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