Tonight, watch a green comet whizz by!February 24th, 2009 - 12:45 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, Feb 24 (ANI): Tonight, skygazers will get the opportunity to treat their eyes on a greenish, double-tailed comet, as its passing close by Earth.
Avid sky watchers will be able to spot the comet with a pair of binoculars.
For the last several weeks, the comet has been getting widespread attention as it has grown nearer and brighter. It should be at its best from about February 23 through 28, said Sky and Telescope editor in chief Robert Naeye.
In a very dark, unpolluted, natural night sky, the comet is dimly visible to the unaided eye. Even in a more light-polluted suburban sky, however, a good pair of binoculars will do the trick.
But, eager comet fans would have to know exactly where to look.
An accompanying chart at SkyandTelescope.com/CometLulin shows the starry view high in the east-southeast in mid-evening.
People would have no trouble spotting the planet Saturn and the star Regulus in the constellation Leo. Theyre the two brightest things in the area.
Using those as the guide, people would have to aim at the point on the comets path thats labeled with the current date.
The comets position is indicated for the evening hours on each date for the time zones of the Americas. The orientation of the scene with respect to the horizon is drawn for North America.
Skygazers need to look for a very dim, biggish, slightly oval cotton-puff floating among the tiny pinpoint stars.
If looked at carefully, they would detect the spike of the comets anti-tail pointing toward the lower left.
The comets regular tail is actually dimmer, and it points in almost the opposite direction. In binoculars, the whole thing looks more gray than greenish.
In a large amateur telescope, the color and the comets structure are a lot more clearly visible.
I saw it out my bathroom window with 10-by-50 binoculars, said Alan MacRobert, a senior editor of Sky and Telescope. Its pretty plain if you get aimed at exactly the right spot, he added. (ANI)
Tags: alan macrobert, amateur telescope, bathroom window, binoculars, comet, comets, constellation leo, current date, east southeast, evening hours, night sky, planet saturn, puff, sky and telescope, sky watchers, spike, star regulus, time zones, unaided eye, whizz