[The following is the email that was sent out to the UMD Observatory mailing list on 23 Feb 2009.]


The UMD Observatory will hold two special observing sessions to observe comet Lulin. 
Tonight(Mon 23 Feb) and tomorrow (Tue 24 Feb) evening from about 9:30pm-11:30pm.

= Please carpool as much as possible.
= Please dress for the cold... It WILL be COLD!
= Please realize that visual observing is different from photographic observations... 
you usually don't see colors and it may be a bit washed out because of the local light pollution...

= Those with telescopes may bring them and set up on the concrete pad (east side of the 
lecture hall, plug in power available), however, we will be locking up at 11:30pm. I 
will not be able to provide much assistance.

= Please consider parking across the street at Systems Admin. If our lot is full, we 
will direct folks there... take a look at our map
http://www.astro.umd.edu/openhouse/




Here is some information about observing Comet Lulin:

Places to go:
+ Towson University Watson-King Planetarium
 (Smith Hall - Room 521)
http://wwwnew.towson.edu/physics/astronomy/planet_shows.asp
"Good Morning,
This is to let you know that Dr. Alex Storrs of our department will be opening the 
Planetarium(Smith Hall, Room 521) tonight, Monday, February 23rd at 9:00 pm to try 
and view Comet Lulin at its closest approach to the Earth. The forecast is for patchy 
clouds but hopefully we will be lucky enough to see the comet. Enjoy if you are able."

+ Astro Society of Greenbelt, Northway fields
http://www.greenbeltastro.org/
1am-2am

+ UMD Observatory
9:30pm-11:30 pm Mon and Tue (23 & 24 Feb)!



+ online (several observatories are also webcasting or in other ways showing the comet...
-- Slooh http://www.slooh.com/ (requires subscription)
-- http://www.coelumstream.com Wed 25 Feb starts at about 3:30pm EST (9:30pm in Italy!!)
-- http://www.ccssc.org/openhouse/darksky_cameras/darksky_cam.html
Webcast #2 Monday Feb 23 - Tuesday Feb 24 from 11pm until 5am EST



basic background info
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2009/04feb_greencomet.htm
http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/highlights/35992534.html
http://cometography.com/lcomets/2007n3.html

Lulin Observatory
http://www.lulin.ncu.edu.tw/english/index.htm

orbit
http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi?ID=dK07N030;orb=1;cov=0;log=0;cad=0#orb
(this is good to see to understand why we see it moving through the sky the way 
we do... and why it is happening "so fast"...)

Finder charts & Technical info
http://www.aerith.net/comet/catalog/2007N3/2007N3.html
http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/icq/cometobs.html
http://www.spaceweather.com/ 
http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/highlights/35992534.html
http://www.heavens-above.com/?Loc=College+Park&Lat=38.981&Lng=-76.937&TZ=EST

Images
http://www.spaceweather.com/ (see the Comet Lulin Gallery)
http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap090207.html


Seeing it for yourself:
Lulin has now transitioned from the morning into the evening sky. It will be 
'passing' Saturn tonight and getting higher (in early Mar) up into Gemini 
before fading out because of the distance.
Tonight, Lulin and Saturn
7:30pm, rise, nearly due east
8:30pm, about 18degrees above horizon
9:30pm, about nearly 30degrees above horizon
10:30pm, about 40 degrees above the ESE horizon


Saturn is the bright "star" in the east in the vicinity of Leo. Lulin should be a 
fuzzy patch to the right of it.
Lulin will be best observed in binoculars or a small telescope... you do not need 
a lot of magnification, but it does help if your skies are darker, so try to shield 
yourself from any lights.
[Remember also that while it is tempting to try to observe earlier, you are looking 
through more of the Earth's atmosphere which filters the light. Lulin will look better 
as it gets higher in the sky, so I suggest waiting until after 9:30pm for tonight, tomorrow...]

Clear Skies!
Elizabeth
warnerem@astro.umd.edu
301-405-6555