Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Comet Lulin (C/2007 N3)

From Wikipedia:
Comet Lulin (official designation C/2007 N3 (Lulin)) is a non-periodic comet. It was discovered by Ye Quanzhi and Lin Chi-Sheng from Lulin Observatory. It peaked in brightness and arrived at perigee for observers on Earth on February 24, 2009, at magnitude +5 and at 0.411 AU from Earth. … According to NASA, Comet Lulin's green color comes from a combination of gases that make up its local atmosphere, primarily cyanogen and diatomic carbon, which both appear as a green glow when illuminated by sunlight in the vacuum of space.

I was pleasantly surprised that PHD Guiding was able to guide on the comet. The streaks in this image are the background stars, smeared by the hour-long exposure on the comet itself as it sped through the solar system.

Heritage Park Observatory, Cedar Park, TX
Exposure: 30 x 2 minutes
Camera: Modified Canon Digital Rebel XT (350D)
Scope: Astro-Tech AT80ED 80mm APO refractor, William Optics 0.8 FFIII field flattener (new!)
Mount: Meade LX200
Guider: Meade LX200 @ f/5, Meade DSI
Filter: Astronomik CLS
Software: PHD Guiding, Nebulosity, Photoshop

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