Comet Lulin Observing
Mother Nature offered clear skies this morning along with a sustantial volume of cold air sos'n mosquitoes and dew would not hinder observing her celestial jewels.
It was 20F when I left for Blackbird State Forest at 3:45 am. Yep, yep, I was fully clothed head to toe with all the polyester and down garments necessary for staying warm at 20F, in the snow, while oberving the skies.
The target this morning was Comet Lulin. This comet has rounded the sun and is on it's way back to comet country, wherever that may be. Howsomever, it journey also brings it fairly close to Earth and it will make it's closest encounter in late February 2009.
This morning it was in the southerly region of western Libra. I first tried to see a "cometary glow" naked eye...no luck. Next I tried 10X50 binos and located a soft glow just over the top of Bill Collins's TV antenna...mark that spot on the ground and above the antenna.
It was time for the big daddy tripod and 25X100 bino. Tripods ought to have heaters on them for cold morning use...they are stingingly cold.
But I got the tripod set up with the bid daddy bino and twern't long before the comet made it's appearance. It reminded me of an edge on galaxy with a bright nucleus...so it definitely displayed two tails.
And about that time, say 4:30am Lyle showed up to witness the event and corroborate my impression that this comet needs some brightening to be worth getting up at 3:30 in 20F weather.
After a few peeks to satisfy ourselves there wasn't going to be any outbursts we were missing we decided to re-locate our oberving to the Waffle House and some hot coffee.
So, for those of you who missed this opp to see Comet Lulin this morning keep your bino dry and prepare for it's closest approach later in February.
See you at the meeting Tuesday night.
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