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Comet Lulin on January 11, 2009.  Credit: Gregg Ruppel

Comet Lulin is On the Way!

14 Jan , 2009

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A new comet is swinging around the sun, and soon it will be more visible to stargazers, perhaps even with the naked eye. Both professional and amateur astronomers have been tracking this unusual comet, named Comet Lulin. Thanks to amateur astronomer Gregg Ruppel, who lives in the St. Louis, Missouri area for sharing images he has acquired of Comet Lulin. Gregg took the image above on January 11, 2009. The most interesting characteristic of this comet is its orbit. Lulin is actually moving in the opposite direction as the planets, so its apparent velocity will be quite fast. Estimates are it will be moving about 5 degrees a day across the sky, so when viewed with a telescope or binoculars, you may be able to see the comet’s apparent motion against the background stars. This is quite unusual! Today, January 14, the comet is at perihelion, closest to the sun. As it moves to its closest approach to Earth on February 24, Lulin is expected to brighten to naked-eye visibility in rural areas, (at best about magnitude 5 or 6) and will be observable low in the sky in an east-southeast direction before dawn.

Comet Lulin on January 8, 2009.  Credit:  Gregg Ruppel

Comet Lulin on January 8, 2009. Credit: Gregg Ruppel


The comet will pass 0.41 Astronomical Units from earth at its closest distance to Earth, about 14.5 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon. It has a parabolic trajectory, which means it may have never come this way before –this may be its first visit to the inner solar system

Lulin was jointly discovered by Asian astronomers in July of 2007. Quanzhi Ye from China first saw the comet on images obtained by Chi-Sheng Lin from Taiwan, at the Lu-lin Observatory.

The discovery of Comet Lulin (also known as C/2227 2007 N3) was part of the Lulin Sky Survey project to explore the various populations of small bodies in the solar system, especially objects that could be a hazard to the Earth.

It has both a tail and an anti-tail, visible in this image.

Lulin's Tails.  Credit:  Gregg Ruppel.

Lulin's Tails. Credit: Gregg Ruppel.

Thanks again to Gregg Ruppel for the great images of Comet Lulin. For more information about Lulin, see Gregg’s Astronomy Page, Quanzhi Ye’s page, Lu-lin Observatory, and the Visual Astronomy website.

Spaceweather.com also has a page of Lulin images. . And Aaron Slack has put together a page of links about Comet Lulin on his Caffeinated Astronomy blog. (Love the name of that blog!)

Of course, Lulin isn’t the pseudoscience theory of a 2012 comet.


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LLDIAZ
Guest
LLDIAZ
January 14, 2009 1:17 PM

the comet thats approaching in 2029 how close will it be to us and will it hit us 7 years later

Max Fagin
Guest
Max Fagin
January 14, 2009 1:36 PM

LLIDIAZ,

I take it you are referring to 99942 Apophis. A few things:

1) 99942 Apophis is an ASTEROID, not a comet.

2) We think Apophis will pass within about 30,000 of Earth.

3) The odds of Apophis hitting us on it’s next pass are slim to none. In order to pose a threat, the asteroid must be deflected during it’s 2029 pass in a VERY specific way.

Max Fagin
Guest
Max Fagin
January 14, 2009 1:37 PM

EDIT: Sorry, forgot the units, LLIDIAZ. We think Apophis will pass within about 30,000 KILOMETERS of Earth.

Conic
Guest
January 14, 2009 1:43 PM

30KKM is really close! Lets go out and meet it.

Marco
Member
January 14, 2009 2:37 PM

If Apophis leaves Earth’s vicinity after the the 2029 visit and it is not practically littered with scientific equipment, then we are a lazy and unimaginative species. 30K km is practically slingshot distance.

dagas
Member
dagas
January 14, 2009 7:18 PM

10 kms at closest, and both the 2029 comet with apophis and some mayans linving and cooking inside will ride it..

now please stop the falacies and talk about real things…

i hope comet lulin make a great show!! cant wait!!

Andrew James
Member
January 15, 2009 1:31 AM
Why is this called Lulin Comet instead of Quanzhi Chi-Sheng Comet? Naming comets after some observatory is unusual to say the least. Oddly are not Chinese surnames / given names are instead reversed when compared to Western names? Hence, the comet would be named, “Quanzhi Chi-Sheng Comet” Normally, Chinese names are usually three separate characters. If my name was, say, Zhai Ao Ning, my given name is Ning, and my surname is then Zhai. The comet I discovered should therefore be Zhai’s Comet or even as Zhai-Ao Comet ? [This is also more confusing, as for example, the discovery of P/2007S1(Zhao) was by Dr. Zhao Haibin is now called “Ziao’s Comet” It was as found at Zijinshan Astronomical… Read more »
Andrew James
Member
January 16, 2009 12:00 AM

Please correct;
Comet Lulin (also known as C/2227 N3)
It should be “C/2007 N3…”

Tommy
Guest
January 17, 2009 10:00 PM

Shut up.. It is a balloon.

Morty
Guest
Morty
January 20, 2009 11:29 AM

You are all wrong. Can’t you see that’s the Obamamobile?! newest 2009 “Other end of the solar system” edition, wish I had that!

Yuris Lara
Guest
Yuris Lara
January 20, 2009 7:06 PM

Morty wrote:

“You are all wrong. Can’t you see that’s the Obamamobile?! newest 2009 “Other end of the solar system” edition, wish I had that!”

Morty, the secret Service refer to the new armor -plated limo of President Obama as “The Beast” not the Obamamobile.

And “The Beast” is a much more fitting name for any comet/asteroid/Apocalyptic Cosmic Destroyer!

dominique
Guest
dominique
January 24, 2009 2:56 AM

you say that comet comes for first time near earth , it means you don’t know anything about it, and what is its deep nature . It comes from an opposite direction that others comets do . Why its has a Halo so regular ? like a circle , and 2 tails instead of one , because i believe that comet’s tails come from solar wind .
Is it possible that Lulin tourne sur elle-même ?

me
Guest
me
January 25, 2009 10:03 AM

Yuris,

“Morty, the secret Service refer to the new armor -plated limo of President Obama as “The Beast” not the Obamamobile.

And “The Beast” is a much more fitting name for any comet/asteroid/Apocalyptic Cosmic Destroyer!”

Very interesting that you mention that… considering all the 2012/NWO stuff that is going on… I’m thinking RFID… or the “Mark of the Beast” ???

Not saying it is what it is, I just find it interestingly coincidental.

clara
Guest
clara
February 2, 2009 6:18 AM

wow….

clara
Guest
clara
February 2, 2009 6:19 AM

oh my good….

john ingstead
Guest
john ingstead
February 2, 2009 1:29 PM

this is amazing

Hell ?
Guest
Hell ?
February 6, 2009 6:05 AM

I guess the don’t named it as astronomer’s name cause they would like to put the team name, and they are under Lulin observatory… you know how these chineses acts…

but by the way, what is that anti-tail, everybody knows that nothing could points towards the Sun!

Scott
Guest
Scott
February 10, 2009 1:44 PM

Hey I live in south wales in the UK where would the best place be to see Lulin in south Wales and where in the sky should I be looking??

2poops
Guest
2poops
February 16, 2009 10:58 PM

Trippin me out, forget xanbars, I’m gonna need a xanax buffet! The Beast! Hummmm
I just put my master bedroom floors down & my mantle up from Katrina this past weekend! So should I go for the no intrest deals on furniture till 2012?

demeh
Guest
demeh
February 18, 2009 5:21 AM

ok i cant wait to see it come [:
p.S it is not a ballon!

wpDiscuz