John Chumack captures Lulin

Posted by Karri Ferron
on Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Comet LulinAstronomy magazine contributor and longtime imager John Chumack had some luck spotting Comet Lulin February 20/21, and he was nice enough to share his account with us:

I took a chance last Friday night and went out to my observatories in Yellow Springs, Ohio, even though there were some high cirrus clouds floating around. It finally cleared enough around 11:30 p.m., just about the time for Comet Lulin to clear the trees east of the compound.

I was worried because the seeing/transparency really was poor, and with the threat of snow storms on the way, I needed to try to capture the comet during this New Moon time frame.
The sky remained fairly clear, with occasional light cirrus clouds floating around. Comet Lulin is just barely visible to the naked eye from a suburban location. It looks a lot better through binoculars, and the dust tail is visible. Easy in a 4-inch diameter telescope!
The comet is moving rapidly, so movement is easily detectable after only 1 minute.
I captured a shot of Comet Lulin with my 5-inch diameter reflector and Canon Rebel Xsi, ISO 400, for 93 minutes, 33 subs, 20 at 4 minutes, and 13 at 1 minute, to help prevent over-exposure of the nucleus.
I tracked Comet Lulin’s nucleus, to show the finer details in the dust tail(left) and anti-tail. The comet is traveling from left to right(east to west) in this image.
I also shot a short movie following the comet’s movement over 90 minutes. The video shows what Lulin looks like through binoculars. Hopefully other readers will get clear skies to view this bright comet.

Watch John’s video of Comet Lulin.

More Comet Lulin coverage:

  • Read Astronomy magazine Senior Editor Rich Talcott's blog, Spot and follow the year's brightest comet with, to find out how you can locate Comet Lulin in your sky tonight with's StarDome.
  • News article: Have you seen Comet Lulin?
  • News article: Swift spies Comet Lulin
  • News article: Green comet approaches Earth
  • Submit your images of Comet Lulin to's Online Reader Gallery

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