The long awaited Comet Lulin is making it’s closest approach to us on February 24th. On that date, Lulin will be in the constellation Leo, just a few degrees away from Saturn. Right now the comet is at an approximate visable magnitude of 5.7. Last week I managed to get a glimpse of it through binoculars at about 4:30am. Below are a couple of pictures I took of the comet earlier in the month when the moon was not affecting collecting its photons. It is a series of 5 (1) minute exposures at asa 1600, on my Canon 20d, with a 400mm lens.
Below is a inverted copy of the same picture, with the tails of the comet much more visable.
It’s amazing what you can see in an inverted picture. Even the slight differences in light coming off of the head of the comet.
If you get a chance in the next few days, set your clock early and go out and see Lulin as it passes within 38 million miles of us. A nice winter gift from the astronomy gods!