The Earth is entering the debris field of Comet Swift-Tuttle, the source of the annual Perseid meteor shower. The shower will peak on August 11th and 12th, but you can catch some great views before then. Also, while you may be able to see dozens of Perseid every hour during the peak, bright moonlight will hamper the view. For more information on viewing the meteor shower, see the NASA website.
Posted tagged ‘comet’
Want to find Comet Lulin, but you’re not sure where Regulus is? Click here for a simplified chart that shows you the constellation Leo and Lulin’s relationship to it until March 1st.
Comet Lulin is now moving away from Earth, but is still bright enough to be seen with the naked eye. You can find it near Regulus. Yesterday, we posted that Lulin had lost its colorful ionized gas tail. Speculation was that a solar wind gust had torn the tail off again. While solar winds may have affected the tail, watchers are suggesting that the tail may now be partially hidden by the head of the comet as it swings around Earth. If so, the tail should reappear as the geometry changes.
Comet Lulin has again lost its colorful ionized gas tail. This has happened twice before in January and February, but quickly grew back. Lulin’s heavier dust tail was not noticeably disturbed. Check out Spaceweather.com here for a three-day sequence of photos that illustrate the changes. These photos were taken by astrophotographer John Nassr in the Philippines.
More Information on Lulin from Spaceweather.com
On Tuesday, Feb. 24th, Saturn and Comet Lulin will converge in the constellation Leo only 2 degrees apart. At the same time, Comet Lulin will be making its closest approach to Earth–the comet at its best!– while four of Saturn’s moons transit the disk of the ringed planet in view of backyard telescopes. Oh, and the Moon will be New, providing dark skies for anyone who wishes to see the show.
The best time to look is around 1 a.m. Tuesday morning (your local time) when the planet-comet combo ascend high in the southern sky. To the unaided eye, Comet Lulin looks like a faint patch of gas floating next to golden Saturn. Point your backyard telescope at that patch and you will see a lovely green comet with a double tail.
Visit Spaceweather.com here for full coverage including photos, sky maps, and a live webcast.
Comet Lulin is approaching Earth and brightening rapidly. Observers say it is now visible to the naked eye as a faint gassy patch in the constellation Virgo before dawn. Even city dwellers have seen it. Backyard telescopes reveal a vivid green comet in obvious motion. Just last week, amateur astronomers watched as a solar wind gust tore away part of the comet’s tail, the second time this month such a thing has happened. Lulin’s closest approach to Earth is tomorrow, Feb. 24th. Browse the gallery here for the latest images.
A green comet discovered in 2007 is approaching Earth & will have excellent visibility this month. It’s discoverer, Quanzhi Ye, describes it as a rare beauty. On February 16th Lulin passes Spica and on February 24th it makes its closest approach to Earth. To learn more & to view a photograph of the comet, visit the NASA website here.