Sunday, February 22, 2009

C/2007 N3, Comet Lulin observed from Central Park

Session name:20090221.2250

Eyed Comet Lulin for the first time with a pair of tripod-mounted Takahashi 22x60 binoculars from Drip Rock in Central Park. The comet appeared as a very, very faint, featureless blob, however, it had an appreciable dimension. My guess is about 15 ~ 20 minutes of arc, not quite as large as a full Moon, as judged in a 2.1° field of view (FoV). At that size it surface brightness is low resulting in very low contrast with our bright NYC background sky.

The comet was so faint doubt crept in, but repeated observations after moving off and returning to the field of view (FoV) offered the reassurance to call this a positive sighting.

The skies were mostly clear during the half hour observing session. There appeared to be some alto stratus and cirrus clouds, but nothing significant to call disruptive or obstructive. Temps were cool in the 30's (° F) with light to gentle breezes (B2 ~ B3).

The night before I conducted a short session from the same spot and scrutinized this same area. The comet was not observed since it was located nearly 7° further east along the ecliptic. I had the wrong ephemerides for that date, 20090220.2230.

Get a finder chart star for Comet Lulin from and give it shot. If you're a city observer, let me know how well you fared.

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