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Monday, February 23, 2009

Hello, goodbye: Rare, little green comet streaking past Earth

It figures that when something cool is going on in space , I have clouds overhead !!!!!! Almost one year I have been in Texas ,IT'S NEVER FUCKING CLOUDY !!!!

Tonight, skies permitting, a greenish, "two-tail" comet that likely contains ice and dust from the beginnings of the solar system will offer a celestial spectacle on its first — and only — fly-by of our Earth.

Comet Lulin will make its closest pass to Earth (about 38 million miles), reaching its peak brightness and fastest apparent speed at 10:43 p.m. ET. You should be able to see it all night, from dusk until dawn, in either hemisphere, with telescopes, binoculars or even the naked eye if you're far away from city lights. It will appear just below Saturn, in the constellation Leo. Here's a sky chart.

Lulin, a remnant of the creation of the galaxy 4.5 billion years ago, will look like a tiny fuzz ball with two tails, one trailing and one pointing toward the Sun. But the latter is an "anti-tail," a rare optical effect. One other oddity: Lulin is orbiting "backward" compared with the planets.

The comet's color comes from a type of carbon and cyanogen, a poisonous gas.

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