n MNASSA : Monthly Notes of the Astronomical Society of South Africa - Comet Lulin : news notes




The unusually shaped comet Lulin reached perihelion (0.41 AU) on 24 February 2009 when it reached almost naked eye brightness, an easy binocular target under moderately dark skies. It was well placed for viewing, passing close by Saturn when it was near opposition. In long exposure pictures Lulin appeared noticeably green in colour, caused by cyanogen (CN: a poisonous gas found in many comets) and diatomic carbon (C) in its Jupiter-sized atmosphere.


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