Comet Lulin
Tuesday, 13 January 2009 11:34

A moderately bright non-periodic comet is in the offing for the sky enthusiasts. The comet is designated as Lulin (C/2007 N3). It was discovered on July 11, 2007 by Ye Quanzhi and Lin Chi-Sheng of Lulin Observatory (Taiwan). Although it was discovered as an asteroidal object with a magnitude of +18.9, its cometary nature was recognized within 5 days of its discovery by J. Young (USA). The comet is having eccentricity of 1.0002 indicating that its orbit is hyperbolic. It is following a retrograde path with an inclination of about of 178.4°.  This is its first and last visit to our inner solar system, unless something induces a change in nature of its orbit. 

The comet has passed through perihelion 11/01/2009) and at a distance of 1.211 A.U. from Sun and 1.568 A.U. from Earth. It can be traced as an eighth magnitude object in the constellation of Libra in the morning skies. Comet will be at a distance of about 0.41 A.U. on February 24, 2009. Around this time, it will attain a magnitude of about +6 and will be within easy grasp of binoculars and small telescopes. 


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