Another Fantastic Comet

Pay attention sky watchers, winter 2009 offers comet viewing once again. This year Comet Lulin is on its way to swing around the sun. Late February into March will see the comet seem to move from the constellation Virgo into Leo. 

Wouldn’t it be fun to see the comet for yourself? Maybe you could see more exciting changes in this cool object in the night sky. For a chart to help you find the comet, visit Sky and Telescope.com. Look for the comet yourself as many nights as you can. It will probably look like a fuzzy patch of greenish light through binoculars. The best chance of seeing the comet would be on a clear night without much moonlight and from a spot away from outdoor lights.

If you find the comet, keep a journal of what you see. Use these questions to be a better observer.

Does the comet get brighter or dimmer?

Do you notice any color in the comet? If you do, does the color change from one night to another?

As nights go by, does the comet seem to slowly change where it is compared to the stars in that part of the sky? Does it get bigger or smaller?

Does the comet show a tail? Does the tail seem to change?

To learn more about comets, visit Windows to the Universe. Teachers and parents can read more about Comet Lulin on the Universe Today site. Use our Astronomy links page to help you explore.
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