Martin McKenna
Image taken:
Feb. 24, 2009
Maghera, Co. Derry, N. Ireland
Hi Tony Last night I got lucky with the weather and was treated to an unexpected crystal clear dark sky. I was extremely impressed by comet Lulin no matter what I used to observe it. With the naked eye I could see the comet as a large elliptical 5th mag haze 2 degrees below Saturn. Furthermore, using averted vision I managed, just once, to glimpse the anti-tail without optical aid as a fine streak pointing away from Saturn! The view of the anti-tail in the 8.5" F/7 reflector with wide angle eyepiece was absolutely incredible. The anti-tail spike could be seen extending across the entire field towards the Sun. It was extremely bright with well defined edges and reminded me for all the world like a glorious bright green blade or sword among the stars. The base was broad as it left the coma then it tapered to a point beyond a bright field star. I watched this tail pass over fainter stars during the course of several hours - amazing!. I wonder if a forward scattering event will cause an enhancement to this tail?. Attached are two sketches of the comet. The first through the scope and the second from my log book. Also are two images taken with my bridge camera. Fujifilm S6500fd 6.3 MP at ISO1600 30 sec exp.
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