Astro photography

Comet Lulin and Saturn

Comet Lulin and Saturn, February 24, 2009. This unusual green comet, more formally known as C/2007 N3 (Lulin), was discovered at Lulin Observatory in Taiwan in July 2007. Its green colour comes from fluorescing CN (cyanogen) and C2 molecules, and the whitish tail is dust reflecting sunlight. During the early morning hours of February 24 the rapidly moving comet passed just two degrees away from Saturn, which is shown here as the brilliant, peachy coloured object in the upper left. On this night Lulin was at its closest approach to Earth, roughly 61 million km away.

This photograph is featured on the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada's web page The Sky This Month - March 2009, and it was published in SkyNews Magazine (May/June 09).

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Steve Irvine
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