Sunday, 9 February 2014

COMET - C/2007 N3 Lulin

COMET - C/2007 N3 Lulin

Discovered: 2007
Epoch: December 6, 2008
Aphelion: 2400 AU
Perihelion: 1.2122 AU
Semi-major axis: 1200 AU
Eccentricity: 0,99998
Orbital period: 42 000
Inclination: 178,37°
Last perihelion: January 2009
Next perihelion: unknown

N3 Lulin is a non-periodic comet. It reached perigee and a maximum magnitude of 5 in February 2009 at 0.411 AU from Earth (182 million km)

A strange phenomenon occurred with this comet - it lost its tail. This is thought to have been caused by a magnetic disturbance in the solar wind hitting the comet. This has happened before with comet Encke in 2007.

Comet N3 Lulin (2007)

Image processing shows in fake colours details of the comet's structure.

Comet N3 Lulin in false colours

Structure and tail of N3 Lulin

The white balance is off, but one gets an idea of the general shape of the object - with a little good will you can see a hint of a tail as well.

Comet N3 Lulin - 60m stack

The photo shows the comet's apparent movement in the sky over a period of 1h. DSS (Deep Sky Stacker) allows you to align either on the background stars, or on the comet's nucleus. having aligned on the stars, this photo gives you the line corresponding to the path of the comet over the period of time corresponding to exposure.

1h apparent movement of N3 Lulin